When we think of leukemia, at least in the human sphere, things get serious, very serious.
And that goes for the people who hear about, about their cat, feline leukemia, also known as FeLV, but is different from ours leukemia except as evolution least as a cause. In particular, it is much easier for a cat to contract leukemia compared to a man, but at the same time is also easier to diagnose it early and, although there is no cure, guarantee a dignified life to the cat.
But first things first, and try to understand what is FeLV, as it contracts and is transmitted and what are its effects on the feline.
I recommend, among other things, also to those who were to have a healthy cat like a fish (which then studying fish diseases have found that healthy fish do not exist in practice, but ok) to read this article anyway: FeLV is such a contagious disease that no cat, apart from special cases of the castrati who live alone and do not ever leave home, you can consider safe.
To avoid it, this disease is known.
FeLV: What are the retrovirus
The Feline Leukemia, unlike the human, which is essentially a neoplasm (a tumor) which can result from various causes, and always has only a “guilty”, in medicine causative agent: is called FeLV (which is the name of the virus, and only by extension that of the disease) meaning “feline leukemia virus.”
It ‘a retrovirus, and maybe some of you will have heard of this viral family because there is also a human disease caused by these viruses, which is HIV; FeLV is not just the human feline AIDS consideration, because cats have another disease that resembles much more, which is also caused by a retrovirus is IVF.
Back to us, retroviruses are particularly bastards than other viral species.
They are because while others only enter the cells, destroying them and make copies of itself, retroviruses are more subtle.
They also come within cells, yes, but they do not go out anymore, remaining inside, so do not destroy the cells, but doing so occasionally produce copies of itself.
I explain it in another way: if I want to conquer the world, go into a shed and began to produce conquerors robot smash everything, visting the army out of the door after two days. If I produce a robot, android, occasionally striking at targeted points, unobtrusively, it will be more difficult to find and be destroyed.
This is what happens if “the army” is the cat’s immune system is understood that he will never destroy apparently healthy cells which, in fact, continue to produce the virus.
And that’s why FeLV (but FIV or, we, HIV) never heals.
FeLV: as it contracts and what causes
We said that in the cat’s body there are infected cells producing the virus, in a slow but steady.
Where does this virus?
It ends, among other things, on the outside, and does so with the saliva, with the blood and in the urine, which are the three main transmission routes.
So while they take FIV usually because venereal (mostly because when cats mate if the damage), then via blood, FeLV can also catch the other cat drinking from the same bowl, or from the same puddle, or sniffing urine: the transmission paths are really a lot and that is why the disease is widespread in the environment.
The large number of stray dogs and the fact that the tadpole cats makes it easy to understand why infectious diseases in cats are so widespread, compared for example to those of dogs.
And also the fact that you are in transplacental transmission, so that the pregnant mother and the FeLV can pass on to the kittens will be born already all with FeLV, is not a thing to be underestimated.
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But what does the body FeLV?
It is why we said that the virus is expelled, but clearly also by problems within the body, otherwise it would not be a disease.
The cells that the virus goes on to infect are those of the bone marrow, which are the precursors of the immune system; the white blood cells of the cat, as well, will all be infected and have abnormal behavior, such as multiply more than they should (hence leukemia, literally meaning “too many white blood cells in the blood”); such a high number means that sometimes are aggregated forming lymphomas, which are cancers compounds from white blood cells.
And tumors are in effect, so you can understand the gravity of the situation.
Feline Leukemia: cure and prevention of FeLV
As for the treatment and prevention of leukemia, did we mention that a positive cat to FeLV can not heal.
This does not mean that it is destined to die: if, in fact, the cat is neutered / sterilized so lose the instinct of reproduction, and is in the house, is in an environment that does not stimulate the immune system (if he went out the cold to stimulate , and also the contact with other animals) and if it is subject to regular veterinary checks suitable for early identification of any problems that may arise, the cat can live a long time, because it is constantly kept under control.
The important thing is to be aware of the fact that he is sick, and that’s important when we take a new kitten, which must be submitted to the positive FeLV tests, just to be quiet.
If it were to be sick, or if it was healthy but we have other cats with FeLV have already explained to you how to live healthy and diseased animals.
Finally, if the cat is negative (because it is already positive do not need) a few words about the vaccine: The vaccine exists, and although it is not completely protective, it is in 80% of cases, so it gives a good immunity .
But you have to be you to ask your veterinarian, especially if in your area turns the FeLV (this I know him), because in the “mandatory vaccinations” FeLV does not fall; would be completely useless, in fact, already vaccinate a sick cat.
If the cat is healthy, so if the test is negative, you can vaccinate and stay at least a bit ‘more relaxed, especially if it is a cat that comes out and runs much.
Write in the comments if you have questions or doubts about the FeLV, I will answer with pleasure.