FeLV & FIV
What is FeLV?
FeLV is Feline Leukemia Virus. It is a common infection in cats, and causes more cat deaths than any other organism. Unfortunately, it is very widespread in the cat population. FeLV creates abnormal white blood cells that can't fight infections, so most cats with FeLV die within three years of infection. There is no cure, only supportive treatment, like blood transfusions and steroids.
FeLV is transmitted through close, social contact - in slaiva, blood, or any secretion - so just sharing food and water dishes or litterboxes can cause transmission. The leukemia vaccine is the only sure-fire way to prevent the leukemia virus.
If your cat tests positive for FeLV, they can still live a full life. They just have to be housed indoors and kept away from other cats to limit the risk of disease transmission. They should also visit the vet every six months for a check-up. Multi-FeLV-cat households should be closed (no new cats) to prevent the spead of the infection.
What is FIV?
FIV stands for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, just as HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. These two viruses are closely related, and much information about HIV holds true for FIV. In FIV, there is a long asymptomatic period before AIDS occurs, and the goal of supportive care is to prolong that period. Many FIV-positive cats live long lives, with only periodic illness.
The virus is most often transmitted through bite wounds, but it is sometimes spread sexually. It causes cats to be immunocompromised, so they must be kept indoors to minimize their exposure to infectious diseases. They must also be kept on a strict regement of flea and tick preventatives.
If your cat tests positive for FIV, they can still live a full life. However, there should only be one immuno-suppressed individual per home (including humans), because multiple of them would serve as amplifiers for infectious agents.
Source: Veterinary Partner
Shelter Outreach Services of Ohio
3500 E Livingston Ave, Columbus OH 43227
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