Results 1 to 12 of 12

Three Types of Feline Leukemia Virus

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,909

    Three Types of Feline Leukemia Virus

    Three Types of Feline Leukemia Virus

    There are three varieties of FeLV infection: FeLV-A, FeLV-B, and FeLV-C. Kitties can be infected with one, two or all three types. FeLV-A occurs in every cat infected with feline leukemia. It severely compromises the immune system.
    FeLV-B occurs in about half of FeLV-infected cats, and causes tumors and other abnormal tissue growths. FeLV-C occurs in only about 1 percent of FeLV-infected cats and causes severe anemia.
    Cats at Highest Risk of Infection

    It is estimated that about 2 to 3 percent of otherwise healthy cats are infected with feline leukemia. The rate jumps to 13 percent or more in kitties who are sick, very young, or otherwise highly susceptible to infection.
    At highest risk for infection are:

    • Cats living with infected cats or cats of unknown infection status
    • Cats allowed outdoors where they can be bitten by an infected cat
    • Kittens born to infected mothers
    Modes of Transmission

    The FeLV virus is shed in bodily fluids including saliva, nasal secretions, urine, feces, and blood. The virus is transmitted through direct contact, primarily mutual grooming, and use of shared litter boxes, food and water bowls.
    FeLV can be passed from a mother cat to her kittens either in utero, or while nursing.
    The disease can also be transmitted through the bites and scratches of an infected cat. It takes large amounts of virus to infect an adult cat, so prolonged contact or a bite is necessary for transmission.
    Stages of a Feline Leukemia Virus Infection



    There are two stages of an FeLV infection. The early stage is called primary viremia, and during this stage some cats are able to fight off the virus and halt progression of the infection to the second stage, called secondary viremia.
    This stage is characterized by persistent infection of the bone marrow and other tissue, and is considered irreversible. Two to four weeks after exposure to the feline leukemia virus, a cat will respond in one of a few ways:

    • Some kitties will not become infected due to inadequate exposure and/or a good immune system response.
    • Some will develop a latent or regressive infection, meaning they didn't completely clear the virus, but their immune system can hold it in check. These cats typically show no signs of infection and do not shed the virus in their saliva or other bodily fluids.
    • Kitties that do not launch an adequate immune response will become permanently infected with FeLV. These cats will shed large amounts of the virus and begin to develop FeLV-associated conditions within a few years.

    This happens most often when exposure occurs before a kitten is 8 weeks old.
    Symptoms of FeLV

    FeLV has a number of negative effects on a cat's body. It is the most common cause of feline cancer, it can cause various blood disorders, and it can so decimate the immune system that it can't defend the body against other infections.
    Common pathogens found in the environment that cause no harm to healthy animals can cause severe illness in an FeLV-infected kitty. Secondary infections are the cause of many of the diseases associated with FeLV.
    Early in the infection, many cats show no signs of illness. As the disease progresses, however, a kitty's health may gradually deteriorate or she may have recurring illnesses followed by periods of relatively good health.
    There is a long list of symptoms associated with this viral infection, including:
    Loss of appetite Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and mouth (stomatitis)
    Slow, progressive weight loss followed by severe wasting late in the disease process Infections of the skin, urinary bladder, and upper respiratory tract
    Poor coat condition Persistent diarrhea
    Enlarged lymph nodes Seizures, behavior changes, and other neurological disorders
    Persistent fever A variety of eye conditions
    Pale gums and other mucus membranes Spontaneous abortions in pregnant females, and other reproductive problems
    Diagnosing an FeLV Infection

    There are two types of blood tests for feline leukemia that look for a specific protein component of the virus. The ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) test detects FeLV in both the primary and secondary stages, and can be performed at the veterinary clinic.
    The IFA (indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay) test picks up secondary viremia only, so the majority of kitties who test positive will be infected for life. This test must be sent out to a diagnostic laboratory and is often used to confirm a positive ELISA test for FeLV.
    FeLV Treatment Options

    There is no specific treatment for kitties with FeLV, however, any existing secondary infections will need to be treated.
    FeLV-positive cats should be kept indoors, which will prevent the spread of the virus to other cats, while also reducing the risk that your kitty will be exposed to pathogens her immune system may not be able to handle. FeLV-positive cats should not reproduce and should never be vaccinated for anything, ever.
    Your cat should be fed a balanced, nutritionally complete, species-appropriate diet. Unless your kitty has a low white blood cell count — in which case I recommend cooked fresh food — a raw diet is fine. You can also select a commercially available raw food diet that has been high-pressure pasteurized; this is a great choice for cats in all stages of the virus.
    Cats with FeLV should see the veterinarian at least twice yearly to review the health of their eyes, gums, skin and lymph nodes, and to check their weight. At one of the two yearly visits, bloodwork and urinalysis should be performed.
    Careful, consistent monitoring of your FeLV-positive kitty's health and behavior is extremely important so that you can notify your vet right away of any changes. I've had good success keeping my FeLV-positive patients very healthy using a variety of natural supplements to support the immune system, including:

    • Standard Process Feline Immune System Support and Feline Whole Body Support
    • Medicinal mushrooms
    • Turmeric
    • IV vitamin C therapy
    • Ozone therapy
    • Kyosenex thymus extract
    • Chinese herbs
    • FeLV homeopathic nosodes

    I've also had good success keeping FeLV-infected cats who have not yet developed symptoms of the disease, asymptomatic.
    Prognosis and Prevention

    Sadly, the majority of leukemia-positive cats whose immune systems aren't supported typically die from a secondary disease within two or three years of becoming infected. Cats that acquire one or more serious FeLV-related illnesses, kitties with persistent fevers and weight loss, and those with cancer, can be expected to have a much shorter survival time as well.
    The goal should always be to identify feline leukemia before a kitty becomes symptomatic, and then offer lifetime immune system support. In these cases, many FeLV-positive cats can live a completely normal life. The only foolproof way to keep your cat safe from FeLV is to prevent exposure to the virus. This obviously means keeping her away from potentially infected cats.
    If your cat goes outdoors, it should be under your close and constant supervision, or in a safe, secure outdoor enclosure — one that prevents other cats not only from getting in, but from being able to bite or scratch your kitty through the sides or top of the enclosure.
    If you have an uninfected cat, never allow untested or at-risk kitties to mingle with yours. House FeLV-positive cats separate from viral-free cats. I do not recommend the FeLV vaccine, as it's often ineffective and has been linked to the development of vaccine-associated sarcomas in cats. Indoor-only cats have little to no exposure risk, and absolutely should not receive the vaccine.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  2. #2

    would like to have your opinion based on experience

    Dear Linda2147
    I got really good info from your Feline Leukemia post, I would love to ask you though, if those treatment or therapies you list in the post would be applied to a cat who has already shown the symptoms, what then? Will it do any good? or it is only like you say, for the cats who tested positive but have no symptoms yet?

    thanks a lot in advance
    Oksana

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    483
    I have a story to tell about a cat who tested positive but had no symptoms.

    Wilbur, a gray and white tabby shorthair, was kept in the shelter's intake room because he tested positive for FLV. (I omit the e on purpose; making typing harder is pointless). If I hadn't volunteered for 3 days, I never would have met him. It was love at first sight, similar to a romance movie. All three days, Wilbur showed no symptoms of anything. I searched the web for information about the disease and testing for it while Wilbur lived with a volunteer who specialized in adopting or fostering FLV+ cats and requested a retest. One thing I learned was the ELISA test is only 80% accurate. My gut feeling was correct, as the second test was negative . . . and so was the third test a few months later. The foster mom's vet basically evicted him by telling her he is at risk of contracting FLV anytime, so I finally, more than five months after the first meeting, adopted Wilbur. He was my soulmate for nine years and almost two months.

    In regards to the diagnosis of FLV in a cat with no symptoms, the moral of this story always test the cat twice.
    Rescued is my favorite breed. Don't shop, adopt!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,909
    Oksana: I would say it can't hurt, whether it would help or not would probably be based on how far along the disease has progressed.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  5. #5
    This is a heartwarming story of yours, CatMom
    I have found two sibling kittens in June this year, a boy and a girl, they were about a month old and in dire state of health, nursed them to their best and today had them neutered and tested for FeLV, and so the girl is negative and the boy, positive to leukemia, no symptoms shown as for now. I was really distressed so started looking for the information and that is how ended up on this very informative forum.
    The thing is, these kittens are up for adoption and already have a family waiting for them in the UK. When they chose them we still have not done the test, but the family mentioned they want them leukemia free. I do not know now what will happen when I inform them about the incident,will they still want the girl or both or cancel it all
    I really want to bring this virus to halt with all those therapies mentioned above. Looking into Dr. Belfield's Mega C plus complex, etc. Would love to try everything at once just to get rid of the baddie in my kitten's blood. And definitely would retest him several months later.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    483
    Quote Originally Posted by Oksana View Post
    This is a heartwarming story of yours, CatMom
    I have found two sibling kittens in June this year, a boy and a girl, they were about a month old and in dire state of health, nursed them to their best and today had them neutered and tested for FeLV, and so the girl is negative and the boy, positive to leukemia, no symptoms shown as for now. I was really distressed so started looking for the information and that is how ended up on this very informative forum.

    The thing is, these kittens are up for adoption and already have a family waiting for them in the UK. When they chose them we still have not done the test, but the family mentioned they want them leukemia free. I do not know now what will happen when I inform them about the incident,will they still want the girl or both or cancel it all.

    I really want to bring this virus to halt with all those therapies mentioned above. Looking into Dr. Belfield's Mega C plus complex, etc. Would love to try everything at once just to get rid of the baddie in my kitten's blood. And definitely would retest him several months later.
    Instead of worrying about it, ask them if they would like to only adopt the girl or alternatively suggest a conditional adoption for the boy.
    Rescued is my favorite breed. Don't shop, adopt!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,909
    sometimes tests are wrong, you could get a false positive reading so its best to test them again. Before my mother died I had been to visit her at the assisted living home, a couple of days later I was deathly sick, I told my dr. I had been to an old age home where mersa and c def run wild. So I was tested 4 times, two times the test came back negative, and two times positive. I was not treated for either thing because two tests were negative so to just let it go and see if I got any sicker, which I didn't. So my point is these tests can be wrong and worth having them done again.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    483
    I have always believed in testing for FLV twice because many healthy cats have been euthanized after only one test. Think about how many lives could have been saved if nonprofits tested every cat twice after reading a positive result. Wilbur was extremely lucky because he had me.
    Rescued is my favorite breed. Don't shop, adopt!

  9. #9
    We took our new kittens in for a check-up yesterday and they tested positive for feline leukemia. (These are two babies we brought home about 6 weeks ago from a desert by my fiance's office. When we brought them home they had ringworm and had just gotten over that.) We have two other adult cats that we took down to get tested and so far have tested negative. The vet wants us to get them rechecked in a month because the incubation period is 3-4 weeks. I am unsure if I should euthanize these kittens, I don't want to infect our adult cats, or if I should keep these kittens and keep them separated from our adult cats(they have been thus far due to the ringworm) and keep them locked in a room for any longer. Any advice?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    5,909
    they need to be tested again, sometimes they test false positive for it but the next test may show negative. positive cats can live together with no problem and are only a danger to other cats if they scratch or bite them. Worse case senario give them to a shelter telling them their condition and they can find a new home either together or someone that has no other cat or another cat that has it also. As long as they are healthy there is no reason to put them down, these cats can live a normal life just like any other cat. Most times you don't even know they are sick.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  11. #11
    I am going to try this immune system boost and Vitamin C complex for my leukemia positive kitten so if you want you could try that too in case you would like to keep them. It takes a few months to get rid of the virus in their blood. Dr.Belfield Mega C Plus.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    483
    Quote Originally Posted by TasdidAlvi View Post
    We took our new kittens in for a check-up yesterday and they tested positive for feline leukemia. (These are two babies we brought home about 6 weeks ago from a desert by my fiance's office. When we brought them home they had ringworm and had just gotten over that.) We have two other adult cats that we took down to get tested and so far have tested negative. The vet wants us to get them rechecked in a month because the incubation period is 3-4 weeks. I am unsure if I should euthanize these kittens, I don't want to infect our adult cats, or if I should keep these kittens and keep them separated from our adult cats(they have been thus far due to the ringworm) and keep them locked in a room for any longer. Any advice?
    You would never forgive yourself for choosing euthanasia before symptoms develop. I guarantee it. FLV is dormant for months or years. To me if the kittens have no symptoms, they are healthy. Quality of life is the only reason to even think about making the life and death decision.
    Rescued is my favorite breed. Don't shop, adopt!

Please reply to this thread with any new information or opinions.

Similar Threads

  1. 8 types of dogs
    By linda2147 in forum Dog General
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 10-22-2015, 02:10 PM
  2. Circovirus in Dogs - A Virus Which Can Be Deadly!
    By Alpha1 in forum Dog Health and Nutrition
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-19-2013, 12:07 AM
  3. Mange Types, Causes and Treatments
    By Alpha1 in forum Dog Health and Nutrition
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-10-2012, 06:24 AM
  4. Types of Cat Grass
    By Alpha1 in forum Cat Health and Nutrition
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-25-2012, 07:18 PM
  5. types of dogs
    By mollies in forum Dog General
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 04-02-2012, 09:54 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Family & Health Forums: Mom Forum - Senior Forums - Health Forum - Low Carb Forum