Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV) is a contagious virus that inhibits the cats immune system. It can maken them susceptible to infections and/or other diseases such as anaemia, cancer or reproductive issues. It is not cancer, it is a virus but it can be the underlying cause for the development of some cancers.
FeLV is a highly contagious virus but it does not survive for long out of the body. It is transmitted through contact with infected cats’ bodily fluids such as tears, saliva, blood, urine, faeces, in utero or through the milk. Infection can occur through bites, scratches, mutual grooming, sharing feeding equipment or through contaminated litter trays.
Signs and symptoms of FeLV include depression, loss of appetite, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea and anaemia. There is no treatment for FeLV only supportive care for the symptoms and secondary illnesses that may occur. A cat can live a happy life for a number of years after initial infection however it will shorten their lifespan and eventually be the underlying cause of death.
Feline Leukaemia Virus can be prevented through vaccinations that all kittens and cats should receive. Vaccinations are not 100% protective and therefore keeping infected cats indoors and separated is important to reduce the risk of spread.
Learn more about what Vaccinations are available for your cat in our article here.