Feline Leukemia is actually a virus that attacks the immune system, not a cancer. It is in the retrovirus family and is more closely related to FIV and HIV than it is any form of Leukemia. Much like HIV, the virus works by attacking the immune system of its host. Therefore, your pet becomes susceptible to a variety of diseases that would not other wise be a problem. One of the first diseases associated with the virus was a form of Leukemia. By the time the mistake was sorted out, the name had already stuck.
Feline Leukemia virus is spread through bodily fluids. This means every thing from saliva and tears to urine and feces. Cats most commonly contract the disease through their normal habit of grooming one another. It is also possible for kittens to become infected by their mothers. This can happen either before birth or while the infant is nursing. Outdoor cats are at a higher risk due to the uncontrollable variables in their environment. This disease can only occur in felines. This means that none of your other pets or your family is at any kind of risk. Feline Leukemia is devastating and damages your pet’s immune system. Fighting this cancer is important and there are ways to help. Learn the signs, symptoms and treatment of feline leukemia.
There are a few signs and symptoms to look for in feline leukemia. These can include depression, increased drinking and urination, sudden weight loss, swollen lymph nodes, diarrhea, constipation, and respiratory distress. If your cat starts to exhibit some or all of these symptoms it is a good idea to call the vet. Whether or not it turns out to be Feline Leukemia you vet is going to want to take a look.
Fortunately there is a simple blood test to tell you whether or not your pet is infected. If the test comes back positive then you will need to test again in about 12 weeks. It does happen that some cats are able to fight off the infection on their own. If this is the case then your re-test will be negative. However, if the second test is positive as well, then your cat has Feline Leukemia. Once this is confirmed you and your doctor will decide on a course of treatment. But you must always treat the animal as if they were contagious. This means quarantining them away from any other cats in the household, and changing all food and water bowls as well as setting up a new litter box.
Conventional treatments are often effective although extremely harsh. There are a number of alternative treatments which have proved extremely helpful in treating cancer in pets, including acupuncture, aromatherapy and homeopathy such as PetAlive C-Caps.
Feline Leukemia is a terrible disease for cats and their owners. If you want to spare both your pet and yourself the pain of this disease, then have your cats vaccinated at a young age. Studies show that kittens under 4 months of age are much more susceptible to the virus than older cats. So keep those babies inside until they have time to grow up a bit. By taking these few easy steps you can cut your cats chances of catching Feline Leukemia to almost nothing!