DISEASES CAUSED BY THE FELINE LEUKEMIA VIRUS
It is estimated that the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a leading cause of cat mortality.
Feral cat virus (FeLV) is a virus that infects the rapidly developing cells of the blood and lymph system and is responsible for many deadly feline illnesses, as well as being responsible in part for several other feline disorders.
Many details regarding the virus and how it is spread from cat to cat are now known, and cat owners may utilize this information to prevent their cats from being infected.
The most well-known FeLV illness is leukemia or lymphosarcoma (LSA), a malignancy of the white blood cells that is caused by the virus.
The symptoms of LSA are not unique to LSA and do not seem to be constant from cat to cat.
In addition to pale gums and swollen lymph nodes, the most common symptoms are trouble breathing, a lack of appetite as well as restlessness and a bad coat.
LSA is not the only disease caused by FeLV. Nonregenerative anemia, characterized by pale gums, weakness and weight loss; an enteritis-like disease that is characterized by severe diarrhea and weight loss; and “fading kitten syndrome,” in which newborn cats do ill and die from various infectious diseases one or two weeks after birth, are all also caused by FeLV.
Furthermore, the vims is suspected of being the cause of certain embryonic miscarriages and resorptions, in addition to a number of proMferative and degrading bone marrow diseases.
FeLV is an immunosuppressive virus, which means that it impairs the capacity of the cat’s natural immunity (immune system) to offer resilience to other viruses and germs. FeLV is transmitted to cats via their saliva.
Cats with FeLV infection are more susceptible to diseases from other agents, and they are more likely to die as a consequence of these illnesses than cats who are not infected with FeLV.
In fact, these “immunosuppressive illnesses” cause more deaths in FeLV-infected cats than the lethal form of LSA.
A great deal has been learnt about how the virus is spread from cat to cat over the course of the past six years.
It seems that the main mode of transmission is via the saliva, which may carry as many as one million contagious virions per milliliter of bodily fluid.
Biting, communal grooming, and the sharing of food bowls are the most common methods in which one cat may spread the disease to another, according to experts.
As shown above, FeLV may be found in both the blood or urine of infected cats, as well as in their saliva, making cat flea infestation and litter pan use two additional potential routes of transmission for the virus.
It is also possible for FeLV to be shed into the milk of infected queens, and for it to pass through the placenta and into the fetus.
It should be noted that the vast majority of cats in the broader cat population are not afflicted with feline leukemia virus (FelLV).
In cats, it is believed that the virus is transmitted mainly via close extended direct cat-to-cat contact in multiple cat homes or catteries rather than through short contact between uninfected and infected cats in the general population.
The prognosis for FeLV-infected cats is very bad, since the vast majority of infected cats will acquire one or more of the FeLV-related illnesses throughout their lifetime.
There is currently no treatment or cure available for any of these illnesses, which are all deadly.
Despite the fact that a few infected cats are immune to illness development, these cats are “carrier” cats, which means they are a continuous source of infection for other, uninfected cats.
Although there is no treatment for the FeLV illnesses, they may be avoided by limiting the transmission of the virus.
This is accomplished by doing a simple and cheap blood test on all of the cats in a home or cattery, as well as all of the cats that are transferred between houses and catteries, to determine whether they have FeLV.
Infected cats are killed or separated from the uninfected cats after all of the infected cats in a home have been discovered.
All of the cats are then “quarantined” for 3 months before even being retested. The home (particularly the food bowls and litter pans) is extensively cleaned with detergents after this.
Upon completion of the quarantine period, if all of the uninfected cats are still uninfected, the home is deemed to be FeLV free.
It is also possible that vaccination will be an effective way of stopping the spread of FeLV, and it is probably more acceptable.
It has been discovered that a small number of cats are naturally immune to FeLV infection, and this discovery has raised hopes that it may be feasible to create a FeLV vaccine.
Some research organizations are presently looking into this possibility, although it is likely that a safe and efficient vaccine will not be ready for several years beyond that time period.
We don’t know what dangers FeLV poses to the general public’s health.
Human cells have been shown to support the virus’ growth in the laboratory, but no proof exists that it may cause illness in people.
It has been discovered that some humans who have lived or worked with sick cats have antibodies to the virus, suggesting that they may have been infected with FeLV.
Euthanasia or isolation of all FeLV-infected cats should be considered in light of the uncertainty surrounding the public health hazards posed by FeLV.
You can take a Hood sample for a FeLV test at your veterinarian’s office if you suspect that your cat has been exposed to a FeLV-infected animal or that your cat has a FeLV disease. Your veterinarian will be able to determine whether or not your cat has a FeLV disease based on the results of the test.
Many characteristics of feline tumors are shared with those of human tumors, which are believed to be produced by a mix of factors including viruses, radiation, chemical carcinogens, genetic predisposition, hormones, diet, and the immune system’s state.
Medications, radiation, and surgery may be used to treat tumors in cats, and the body’s natural defense (immunity) system can be stimulated to fight the tumor cells.
Similarly to human cancer, the response of feline tumors to treatment varies, with the response being determined mainly by their kind and degree of illness.
Certain types of tumors may be cured with therapy, whereas in others, treatment does not result in a cure, and the most that can generally be accomplished is an increase in the patient’s overall quality of life (QoL).
DISEASES CAUSED BY THE FELINE LEUKEMIA VIRUS