Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia is one of the most important causes of illness and death among cats.  It causes cancer in about 20% of infected cats and also contributes to other infectious diseases (such as anemia) by suppressing the immune system and bone marrow production.  A major source of spreading the disease is persistently infected cats that appear to be healthy.


When is your cat at risk?

All it takes to spread feline leukemia is contact with the bodily fluid of an infected animal.  Any of these situations could put your cat or kitten at risk:

  • Social grooming
  • Common litter boxes
  • Shared food and water bowls
  • Bite wounds from playing or fighting
  • Time outdoors
  • Contact with other cats
  • Newly adopted

        The virus is especially dangerous to young cats.  Kittens can contract the disease  from their mothers while nursing or still in the womb. 


Feline Leukemia:

  • is found in every region of the United States.
  • is highly contagious.
  • is transmitted from cat to cat.
  • can be fatal.
  • has few outward signs, and no “sure” signs.
  • is associated with illness and death of more cats than any other disease.
  • can weaken a cat’s immune system. 


When should I test my cat for Feline leukemia?

Since your last visit to a veterinary clinic, has your cat:

  • Had a bite wounds?
  • Been outside for even a brief period of time?
  • Been exposed to any other cat whose status is unknown?

        If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your cat should be tested. 


Why should I test my cat?

Without testing, there is no way to know whether your cat is infected.  Without diagnosis, your cat cannot be treated properly.  The American Association of Feline Practitioners recommends that all at-risk cats, sick cats and kittens should be tested. 


Are you unsure if your cat has been tested for Feline Leukemia?  Give us a call to confirm.  If your cat hasn’t been tested, we would be happy to arrange an appointment to have your cat tested. 

(Information from Idexx and Merial)