Feline Leukemia Virus in Cats - Pet Health Network
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is contagious among cats. Unlike many other viruses that enter specific cells in the body and destroy them, FeLV enters certain cells in a cat’s body and changes the cells’ genetic characteristics. This permits FeLV to continue reproducing within the cat each time infected cells divide. This allows FeLV to become dormant (inactive) in some cats, making disease transmission and prognosis (outlook) difficult to predict.
Feline Leukemia (FeLV) In Your Cat - 2nd Chance
Feline leukemia is generally transmitted through contact with saliva from an infected cat. Certain “social” behaviors such as mutual grooming and sharing food or water bowls can spread the disease. Kittens can become infected during fetal development or during the first days of life as their mothers nurse and care for them.
FeLV is killed by many disinfectants and does not live for very long in the environment, so contact with an infected cat is necessary for disease spread. However, predicting which cats can transmit the disease is complicated because some cats that are contagious don’t develop signs of infection.
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There are feline leukemia vaccines, but they’re only 85 to 98 percent effective, says Joni. "None are 100 percent, which is why it is not recommended that positive cats live with non-positive cats," she explains.
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Vaccination is considered as the best alternative to prevent the disease.
An Overview on Feline Leukemia Vaccine
Feline vaccinations are medications or immunogens given to cats to improve immunity and prevent diseases.
Feline Leukemia Virus and Related ..
Feline leukemia is not considered contagious to humans. In contrast, rabies is contagious (and fatal) to any warm-blooded animal, including humans. If your cat is known or suspected to have either of these diseases, contact your veterinarian promptly to discuss how you can protect your other pets and family members.
What is Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)
In a persistently infected cat, large quantities of virus are shed in the saliva, and potentially the faeces, urine and milk. The virus is fragile and does not survive in the environment for any length of time. It is thought that infection is perhaps spread most commonly through prolonged social contact (mutual grooming, sharing of food bowls, litter trays etc., where virus may be ingested). However, the virus can also be transmitted through biting and if an entire queen is infected with FeLV, any kittens she produces will also be infected (although many die or are are aborted/resorbed before birth).
Cat Feline Leukemia | Best Friends Animal Society
To find out if it is a persistent infection, an IFA test can be sent to a lab. A positive test indicates that the cat is positive for FeLV and always will be. If the test is negative, there is a chance the cat can fight off the infection (although recent research shows that the virus may just be dormant until a physiological stressor allows it to circulate again). If the IFA is negative, both the ELISA and the IFA should be repeated in six weeks. Some cats remain discordant (ELISA positive, but IFA negative) for a very long time due to a localized infection. We don’t recommend that these cats live with FeLV-negative cats, because the virus could be spread. Cats fighting off the virus are less likely to be reinfected, but it is possible.