The feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a cause of common and important disease causing death in cats.
Viral infection of cats can result in immunosuppression and malignant neoplasia.
The principal route of infection is prolonged contact with infected cat saliva and nasal secretions; biting is not required but can transmit infection.
The transmition with fomites is unlikely due to poor survival of the virus in the environment.
The transplacental infection and the transmission by milk can occur but the kittens are probably infected when licked and groomed by infected queen.
¿What are the symptoms of feline lekemia virus infection?
Any age, gender and breed of cat can develop signs of Felv infection.
The majority are male between 1 and 6 years of age.
Most animals that are infected can develop various diseases permanently because their immune systems are weakened by the virus and are more prone to infection.
Findings are often nonspecific, including poor body condition, depression or weakness. Signs may be attributable to immunosuprepression, chronic or recurrent infections, or neoplasia.
In 25% of infected cats can occurs anemia.
The anemia is produced for bone marrow infection by the virus or by destruction of red blood cells.
15% of cats can develop cancer, particularly different forms of lymphoma.
There are specific test for detection of virus antigen.
Is there a treatment?
No treatment against the virus.
Existing treatments serve to maintain the quality of life of the animal.
If the animal have nonregenerative anemia may be managed ith blood transfusions.
Identify and treat secondary infections aggresively to allow a full immine response to the viral infection.
What are the prognosis?
The prognosis for a cat with positive test of leucemia virus is guarded for survivla beyons 3 years. However, the quality of live is usually excellent, and some cats may live to their full life expectancy.
The prognosis of symptomathic cats is poor.
There is a vaccination against leukemia virus.
Vaccination is efficacius in cats at risk for exposure to the virus sure (outdoor cats ).
The most important thing is prevention and early detection. When a cat enters to a new home you should have a blood test to detect if you have leukemia virus or not. If it is positive, the veterinarian should evaluate the risks to the owner.
The virus is contagious to other cats but not to other animals or people.