FELINE LEUKEMIA VIRUS (FeLV)
Much like human beings, cats are also susceptible to a number of infections and illnesses. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is one such infection that affects the feline population. The virus is usually contracted when your cat comes in direct contact with another infected kitty during mating, grooming, or when they share a litter box or food bowl. However, FeLV is not easily transmissible as it occurs only if the cats have remained in contact for an extended period of time.
Contrary to its name, FeLV is not the same as having leukemia which is actually cancer of the bone marrow. It is essentially a viral infection that is similar to the AIDS virus. But it is important to remember that the virus is specific to the cat family only and will not affect you or your family. However, FeLV is found concurrently with a diagnosis of bone marrow cancer. Although both the conditions are dangerous and potentially fatal, FeLV can be easily prevented by keeping your cat indoors in order to avoid any possible exposure to an infected cat.
Signs of FeLV include lethargy, weight loss, diarrhea, altered breathing behaviour, pale gums or yellowing around the whites of the eyes and mouth. If your cat shows such symptoms, you must take them to the veterinarian immediately. Diagnosing FeLV is a simple process involving a rapid blood test that yields accurate results. If your cat is diagnosed with FeLV, you must make sure that they stay indoors in order to prevent them from coming into contact with other, uninfected cats. Although there is currently no treatment available to eliminate the virus, vaccines have been developed to prevent FeLV in cats. It has been strongly advised that all cats, especially those who tend to step outside, get vaccinated against FeLV. You can ask your veterinarian more about the vaccine and the virus.