FeLV or cat leukemia in cats (Feline Leukemia Virus)
In contrast to FIV, FeLV, the Feline Leukemia virus, is indeed transmissible via saliva (or snot). So when cats wash each other, they can infect each other. Also bite wounds cause infection with FeLV and kittens can become infected in the uterus or via mother milk. FeLV is also transferable via sexual contact. Is there still no danger somewhere? Yes. Contamination by eating from the same food bowl or drinking from the same water container is less obvious, because the virus only stays alive for a short time in the environment.
The symptoms of FelV
FeLV is most common in male cats between 1 and 6 years old. Cats can become permanently infected after exposure to the virus. They can also become carriers of the virus without becoming ill themselves and they can also undergo a self-limiting infection. This depends on the type of virus and also on the age and the immune system of the cat.
Symptoms are often not really specific: do not want to eat, lose weight, depression, fever. We also often see tumors of the lymph nodes. Because the immune system is weak, we also see additional infections such as inflammation in the mouth or eyes.
How is the diagnosis of FeLV made?
After an extensive physical examination and based on the story of the owner, the suspicion of FeLV can arise. With the aid of a FeLV-FIV rapid test and a small amount of blood, the probability diagnosis FeLV can be made. This examination can be performed at the clinic and the result is known within 10 minutes.
However, a positive result does not immediately mean that the cat has developed the disease. It is possible that the cat is in an acute phase of the infection and that the cat overcomes the infection and does not become ill. Therefore it is advisable to repeat the test after 3 months.
It may be that your veterinarian advises to send blood to a laboratory for inspection.