How to know if my cat has leukemia


Symptoms of leukemia in cats

Of viral origin, Feline leukemia is a serious and frequent infectious disease in cats, which attacks your immune system. Know the transmission paths and the med>

What is feline leukemia or VLFe?

As veterinarian Carlos Rodríguez explained in our post feline leukemia, viral diseases are the main cause of the morbidity and nontraumatic mortality of domestic cats.

This is a revealing fact of the great incidence that this type of diseases have on the feline population.

About the VLFe, which is the abbreviation of Feline Leukemia Virus, Notably It is a very serious chronic disease, caused by a retrovirus, which weakens the cat's immune system.

VLFe causes leukemia, a type of blood cell cancer - lymphocytes. The viral infection acts by weakening the animal in its fight against other diseases. Unfortunately, without proper treatment or controls, it can lead to the death of the cat.

The positive part is that vaccination, together with the fact that it is a virus with little capacity for survival in the environment and sensitive to disinfectants, makes it an easily controllable disease.

"The feline leukemia virus was identified in 1964 as a possible cause of lymphomas in a group of cats."

Common routes of infection

Feline leukemia virus spreads mainly through saliva or nasal secretions.

But there are other routes of transmission of the disease, such as:

  • Ingestion of water or infected food
  • Infection due to scratches or bites in fights between cats
  • Inoculation by transmitting insects
  • Contagion through the placenta of infected mothers
  • By urine, feces or tears
  • By grooming between cats

We must emphasize that transmission is more likely in environments with poor hygiene or places where animals are crammed or free on the street and without any control

In these sites it is also likely that there is infestation by fleas or other insects that may be vectors of other dangerous diseases.

If you see an abandoned kitten and want to take it home, the first thing you should do is go with him to the veterinarian, to rule out any disease that also puts the cat you already have at home at risk.

“It is believed that the origin of the leukemia virus goes back more than a million years, when a rat retrovirus infected an ancestor of our cats. This infectious agent eventually became a feline virus. ”

How to prevent infection?

“If my cat has leukemia, what do I do?”, Is one of the questions that people who share their lives with these animals usually ask.

If you think your cat can live in a risky situation, take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible. The specialist will advise you on preventive measures and, in case of infection, will prescribe the most appropriate treatment.

Remember that vaccination must be accompanied by other measures, such as preventing the healthy cat from coming into contact with another infected.

Before vaccination, it is essential to perform specific tests to confirm or rule out the infection. In the event that the test is positive, all the guidelines indicated by the doctor must be followed.

Although vaccine protection is not total, experts insist on recommending it, especially in situations of risk.

"The most effective measure to prevent infection, apart from vaccination, is to prevent healthy cats from coming into contact with those infected."

VLFe: diverse and varied symptoms

Symptomatology of feline leukemia groups from apparently mild disorders, such as lack of appetite, to major disorders, such as infections.

Here is a list of the effects that cats usually have with this disease:

  • Inapetence
  • Weightloss
  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness, inactivity (lethargy)
  • Lack of cleanliness
  • Fever
  • Seizures
  • Oral diseases
  • Stomatitis
  • Gingivitis
  • Leaving the usual customs, how to use the sandbox
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin lesions
  • Anemia
  • Periodic bacterial and viral infections
  • Skin infections
  • Coat deficiencies
  • Bladder infections
  • Respiratory tract infections
  • Simultaneous decrease in the number of white, red and platelet cells
  • Swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)
  • Jaundice

It is estimated that around 25% of infected cats get anemia and around 15% cancer, especially of lymphocytes.

As noted, the symptoms are multiple and some may go unnoticed or be associated with other minor disorders, so it is essential to be very attentive and check with the veterinarian any questions about the health of our cat.

Treatment and prognosis of leukemia in cats

The reality is that, today, there are no antiviral treatments that are considered safe and totally effective in coping with this condition.

What they do Some drugs is to treat the symptoms of diseases associated with the infection. Other medications are used to control virus replication. Attempts are also made to stop the infection by substances that enhance the immune response.

According to specialists, the prognosis of VLFe is not good and in cases where the virus is not defeated by the immune system, it can be lethal.

About 85% of cats infected with the virus die between six months and four years after diagnosis.

The good news is that the prognosis may vary to reserved in the event that cats that test positive are totally healthy at that time.

With due veterinary care and all the affection of their humans, a cat infected with VLFe can continue to accompany us for years with a good quality of life.

What is feline leukemia?

Feline leukemia is a type of cancer that affects a type of white blood cells, called leukocytes, which are responsible for keeping the body healthy, free of infections. Once the virus comes into contact with the immune system, destroys it, hindering the task of leukocytes. Thus, if the cat had, even if it were, a simple cold, his health would be complicated to the point that they might need veterinary attention in a hospital.

Symptoms of leukemia in cats

During the first stage of the disease, which is from when the virus enters the cat's organism until about three months have passed, the animal usually does not show any symptoms. But nevertheless, after three months we could start to see changes in his behavior and in his health:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • The cat gets very sick
  • Trouble breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of interest for your personal hygiene

Keep in mind that not all cats have the same symptoms. The appearance of one or the other will depend on how you fight your virus defense system.

In any case, whenever you see or notice that there is something that starts to go wrong, it is important that go to the vet. Thus, you will have many possibilities to continue leading a decent life.

What is feline leukemia?

The disease of the feline leukemia the cause a virus that attacks the cat's defenses (leaves him weaker to fight against other ailments). When we refer to the leukemia in cats, we are talking about FeLV virus (Faithline Leukemia Virus).

He feline leukemia virusit is a retrovirus that infects the mininos, and how it is incorporated into the genetic material of the cell, this makes this virus very complicated when it comes to treating. This virus is to blame for numerous diseases and complications that appear later and that can become mortal. One of these is the Feline leukemia, but there are more. Other diseases that arise from FeLV are:

  1. Liver diseases (liver)
  2. Abortions
  3. Anemia
  4. Opportunistic infections
  5. Leukopenia

Specifically, what is feline leukemia disease? Is a cancer that affects leukocytes of the cat.Leukocytes are a type of white blood cells found in the bone marrow and blood, and are the "Defenses" of the body, because they are responsible for protecting your pussy's organism against infections and other external agents.

If your cat has feline leukemia, the cat's immune system loses its vigor and the animal can't fight other diseases They will appear later. These cats can have complications even from a simple cold.

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How do I know if a cat has leukemia

exist signs, signs and symptoms in your kitty and his way of behaving that can make you alert. This virus can harm your pussy in different ways. In the beginning, if the contagion there will be an initial phase that will last between two weeks and three months, in which they can no symptoms observed

But later the signs of the disease may appear. If they show up, the Leukemia symptoms in cats They are diverse and can include some of the following 12 symptoms, that is, if your cat suffers from this disease it will not have the 12 signs, but you may detect 4 or 5, if so, you should take your pet to the veterinarian.

The 12 symptoms of feline leukemia are:

  1. You can eat little or stop eating (see why my cat does not eat)
  2. A cat with leukemia may have paler gums than usual
  3. It may have a yellowish color in the mouth or whites of the eyes
  4. The pussycat will have a fever (see how to know if my cat has a fever)
  5. You can have a low overall tone and every time you become more apathetic
  6. May suffer from diarrhea
  7. You may vomit very often (see why my cat vomits)
  8. A cat with leukemia may have breathing difficulties (you may hear his breathing).
  9. Easily get sick and new diseases appear (anemia, respiratory, bladder mouth, etc.).
  10. Hair can get ugly and skin wounds appear (see how to tell if a cat has scabies)
  11. They neglect their personal cleanliness
  12. You may have swollen lymph nodes
  13. You may make your needs out of the sandbox

With these 12 symptoms of feline leukemia, you can know what things can alert you to consult with your veterinarian. The specialist will make a blood test your cat and he will tell you with total security if your pet suffers from leukemia.

How much does the leukemia test cost in cats? This varies depending on the veterinarian, but generally in Spain it costs about 40 euros.

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Treatments for leukemia in cats

There are vaccines to prevent feline leukemia that are useful in felines that take to the streets and in mininos that live in groups. However, some vaccines have side effects, therefore, they should only be put in risky felines.

The specialist will carry out a test to know if your cat has been in contact with this virus and will study the signs that your pet has and the values ​​of a blood analytics to be able to make a diagnosis and a prognosis.

Normally, the cats that they live in a group and the stray are more likely to suffer feline leukemia than the minines that come alone. This is because the virus is mostly transmitted through urine and saliva.

You can also read how to know if a cat has ringworm

Want to know more about cats?

We remind you that this post of Curio Sfera .com It is merely informative. We do not carry out any type of diagnosis, prescription, or veterinary treatment. If you suspect that your animal has some kind of discomfort or symptom, you should go to the vet quickly.

If you want to see other items similar to How to know if my cat has leukemia We invite you to visit the category of pets. You can also ask your questions directly in the search engine of our website. And remember, if you liked it, share it on social networks or with your friends and family. You can also leave us a comment. 🙂


Good, my cat has not yet been diagnosed if he has leukemia, he was tested only. She is very anemic but eats well for now, I give her things she likes and at least she eats. Drink a lot of water and will do your needs in your box and everything. Lately he is more active but despite the medications he takes, the veterinarian tells me that he is still too anemic and that he might need a blood transfusion. Are there chances I could be better? I honestly refuse to think that something bad can happen to him: /

Hi, I have a kitten called Zeus, he is very sick, he does not eat, I have to give the food with a syringe and it makes me sad to see him like this, he sleeps a lot I do not know if he has feline leukemia or not, said the veterinarian if he has leukemia my cat is 3 years old I make!

Take him to the vet. My leukemia was detected today. Take him as soon as possible.

hello, two days ago one of my kittens (lucy) detected leukemia and infectious peritonitis, at the moment it is interanda, the problem is that at home I have 4 more cats, two with 2 years of age and 2 with just 1 year None of them are vaccinated, they will soon discharge Lucy and I don't know what to do about whether to take her home or take her away from her brothers? taking into account that all are from home but have access to the outside and live with other cats. Is it necessary to get Lucy away or would it be in vain? help 🙁

Ana Sanz Jorna says

Hi, my cat has been vomiting for two days, she does not eat just or drink the attempt to give, with a syringe but she throws it again, she is all day long, I do not know what it can be since she has always been lying down I hope you can help me or give me some advice already I'm very worried she is 4 years old and her name is alai thanks in advance

hello nose if you can help me my kitten is sick sometimes he decays but he returns to revive and vomits, also to lost weight but not to lost his appetite nose that I have and is already like this 6 days but I could not take him to the vet for my studies.

What is feline leukemia?

The feline leukemia It is a chronic disease caused by a retrovirus. The most common effect of the infection is the weakening of the cat's immune system (immunosuppression).

The virus of the feline leukemia It infects cells of the immune system, destroying or damaging them. This leaves the animal exposed to a wide variety of diseases and secondary infections.

FeLV belongs to the same family of viruses as that of the Feline immunodeficiency (IVF). It is estimated that, in Spain, between 1% and 2% of cats are infected.

Feline leukemia: how it is spread

VLFe is transmitted between infected cats, primarily through the saliva waves nasal secretions.

From the Study Group of Feline Medicine of Spain (GEMFE), of the Association of Spanish Veterinarians Specialists in Small Animals (AVEPA), warn that:

“The virus spreads through habits where there is an exchange of saliva between cats, such as grooming or sharing the feeder and the trough. Alternatively, FeLV infection may be caused by bites or by contact with urine and feces containing the virus. It is also possible that the virus passes from the mother to the puppies during pregnancy or through infected breast milk. ”

The good news is that Not all cats that are exposed to the leukemia virus become infected. They may not have been exposed to a sufficient amount of the virus or their immune system has successfully eliminated the infection.

Is it possible to spread cats to people?

No. The probability of contagion of cats to people is void since it is a specific feline virus, which does not occur in humans.

Symptoms of a cat with feline leukemia

The clinical signs are very diverse including fever, lethargy, loss of appetite and weight. Respiratory, skin and intestinal signs are also common. Cats can suffer several diseases at the same time.

Anemia occurs in 25% of infected cats. In 15% of infected cats cancer occurs. The most common is lymphoma, a cancer of lymphocytes (a type of white cell) that causes tumors or leukemia.

Vaccine against feline leukemia

The best prevention against leukemia is to avoid cat contact with other infected individuals and, of course, vaccinate. There are multiple vaccines available for the feline leukemia virus. The purpose of these vaccines is to prevent cats exposed to the virus from becoming permanently infected.

Unfortunately, no vaccine has 100% effective protection against infection, but it is highly recommended in situations where cats have a high risk of exposure to the virus.

_ Bibliography and links of interest Mars Inc. Veterinary Oral Health Council (English) American Veterinary Medical Association (English) Tell us your case If you have any questions about what you just read, the Nutro veterinary team will clarify it to you personally in our FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Do not stop writing to us!