Symptoms of Feline Leukemia

Feline Leukemia is a virus that affects the immune systems of cats. It is eventually fatal. It's similar to AIDS and somewhat related, but it cannot be passed to humans or any other animals but cats. It causes cancer in the lymph nodes of cats.


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The symptoms are somewhat generic and harder to place specifically if you're not a vet (because it's like AIDS, the virus itself isn't causing the symptoms - it's the cancer that results from it). Vomiting, naseau, breathing problems, loss of weight, excessive coughing or gagging, diarrhea, and anemia are all symptoms your cat could experience, depending on where it gets a tumor.

Feline leukemia is a surprisingly large killer of cats - second only to car accidents. In fact, most cats are actually exposed to it during their lifetimes and survive. Some cats even get exposed as kittens and then develop actual symptoms far later in life once they are older and their ability to fight back has begun to deteriorate.

If your cat doesn't have it, there are vaccines that will help you prevent it. Just make sure you go over it with your vet to make sure you're getting vaccines that don't cause cancer in cats. You can also keep your cats indoors - a good idea anyway that will keep your cat from getting in contact with other carriers and being exposed.

If your cat already has it, there is sadly no cure. It is a disease that your cat can live with for many months, so you should focus on getting with your vet and figuring out a diet and medicine plan. Some people suggest using raw meat diets along with high vitamin C to boost the cat's immune system. Your biggest worry at this point is if you have other cats. You need to immediately quarantine the cat with feline leukemia, and test and vaccinate the other cats. Throw away bowls, litter boxes, etc. - anything the cat has had regular contact with. Multi-cat households are usually the biggest reason for actually putting down a cat with feline leukemia. Another option you could consider is trying to get a friend who has no cats to take in the sick cat. If you are dead set against putting the cat down, this is the only thing to do - you can't in good conscience risk your other cats if they test negative. Find someone nearby and let them know you'll pay vet expenses, etc. You could also set up a quarantine area pretty easily if you have a very isolated room in the house. Just talk it over with your vet first, because doing anything like this could involve risks to your other cats.

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