Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunovirus

posted: by: Deb LaPaugh VMD Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

Feline Immunovirus (FIV) is a virus in domesticated cats all around the world.  It is shed in the saliva therefore the mode of transmission is mostly through bites.  All age cats are at risk but the risk increases with age, males are more likely to fight so they are also at a higher risk.. After infection there is a transient period of flu-like symptoms.  Most recover and may be clinically normal for months to years.  The virus remains in the cat's system for life and causes the slow decline of immune function.  At some point clinical symptoms of immuno-suppression may occur.  FIV cats may have dental diseases, respiratory infections, urinary tract infections or, worst case, cancers.  Your cat can live a long life if you are aware and treat any infections as they arrive. There is a test for the FIV but no vaccine.  The best prevention is preventing cats from roaming freely outdoors.

Feline Leukemia (FeLV)is also a virus that infects for life.  It is spread via saliva  so cat bites, mutual grooming and cats sharing food and water bowls are the primary routes of transmission.  It can also be transmitted from mother cat to fetus, mostly through the milk.  The virus does not live more than a few hours outside the cat so proper decontamination of the environment readily destroys the virus.  Infected cats often die within a few years (or less) of the infection.  Common clinical symptoms are weight loss, dehydration, fever, eye and nasel discharge, anemia, diarrhea, oral infections and enlarged lymph nodes.  They also are very predisposed to several cancers. There is no cure and this virus is for life.  Infected cats usually do not have normal lifespans.  We can test specifically for Feline Leukemia Virus and there is a very effective vaccine that has dramatically reduced the incidence of FeLV.

We are currently have a special for FeLV/FIV testing.  The test is normally $40, starting June 15, 2013 we are testing for FeLV/FIV for $15 while supplies last. 

FeLV nor FIV can infect humans.  They are specific to cats.