Feline Leukemia Virus Testing & Vaccination
Virus is primarily a kitten disease. Kittens are at highest risk of
developing the disease if exposed. After 4 months cats become
increasingly resistant with adult cats over 1 year being highly
resistant to FeLV whether vaccinated or not.
Incubation is an
average of 3 years, but can be considerably longer so cats can come down
with FeLV disease many years later if exposed before one year of age.
Testing and removal by breeders and shelters has had the most impact on
reducing the disease .Feline leukemia is transmitted primarily by bites
from infected cats. It is unstable in the environment and survives only
a few hours. Food bowls and litter boxes are possible but unlikely
sources of infection.
FeLV remains as the
leading cause of death in cats.
There is no cure for
Feline Leukemia. FeLV infected healthy cats can live for months up
to 4 years. Once symptoms develop cats can be treated to enhance the
quality of life. There is no cure.
We highly recommend
vaccination of kittens for FeLV.
are hard to predict. Many kittens do not remain indoor cats. Sometimes
exclusively indoor cats escape. Most cats do not remain the only cat in
the household. sometimes friends or relatives bring cats to visit.
All Cats should be tested prior to or at the time of vaccination
will not prevent disease in previously infected cats.
2. A previously infected cat will develop the disease years later
and appear to
be a vaccine failure.
3. You might not want to get attached to a FeLV + cat.
4 Carriers can be asymptomatic for years, and expose other
cats in the household
No test is 100% accurate. Testing during the incubation phase can
give a false
negative. Approximately 30 % of cats exposed between 12 wks to 1 yr.
become naturally immune
and will not develop disease. Positive cats should be
retested in 3 months.
For the retest we recommend, the IFA test.
Cats over one year
of age are highly resistant to Feline Leukemia whether they are
vaccinated or not. Unnecessary vaccination should be avoided as FeLV
vaccine has been known to cause Injection Site Fibrosarcoma, a terminal
type of cancer. You may want to err on the side of caution and
vaccinate a high risk cat at one year of age, and then every three years
but only with a with a non - adjuvanted FeLV vaccine.