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Question about feline leukemia

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

I found this site and registered so I could ask this question. I know similar questions have been asked countless times before, so please forgive me for asking for the same information.

One of my cats tested postive for feline leukemia about 5 weeks ago. Four weeks later I had him tested again, with the blood work being sent to a lab. It came back positive. After reading many veterinary FAQ's I learned that the other cats in the house (all adults) would probably be o.k. I was very relieved that I did not have to put him down.

As fate would have it, an abandoned six month old kitten came into my possession yesterday. I had him immunized against the disease. He has to have a booster shot in two weeks.

Now I'm back at square one about whether to put down the leukemia positive cat. My vet says it's my decision. Some times cats pass it on, some times they don't.

Can anyone offer personal experiences or links to further information to help with this situation?

Thanks, Dennis
post #2 of 6
Go to the Winn Feline Foundation website and read Dr. Susan Little's articles on FeLV
post #3 of 6
Have you considered an in-between solution--isolating the leukemia-positive cat in a single room?
post #4 of 6
There are also very good articles on the Cornell Veterinary web site about FeLV and the likelihood of healthy vaccinated cats catching it from a positive one. I assume that the blood work that you had run at the lab was an IFA test? That is the only test that truly confirms FeLV. The Elisa test is a screening test only and usually done in the office. Confirm with your vet which test was run.

Your choice is very personal and very difficult. I had a 3 year old healthy, fully vaccinated cat catch FeLV from a feral kitten that I brought into my house (the kitten was supposed to have been tested and due to a mix up at the vets was not). He lived in the house 6 months before the adult caught it from him. Knowing that a vaccinated cat can still catch the disease, I isolated him from the rest but the stress of the isolation (he was a very social cat) caused the disease to take over and I lost him after a few months. But realize the reason he got it was because he was a very social cat and used to spend hours grooming and sleeping with the kitten that was infected.

The odds are in your favor that your other cats will be OK but those odds amount to about a 1 in 11 chance of catching the full blown disease. I had 12 cats and only 1 caught it. After going thru that experience, I have to honestly say that I would try to find a FeLV sanctuary for the cat rather than risk the other cats. But that is my choice.

Keep reading about the disease so you know what you are up against. Sending positive vibes that you can work thru this decision.
post #5 of 6
I would do research on a humane center that would take your kitty in. I went thru this years ago. I had two cats, one positive & one negative. The positive one was given 6 months to live. The negative one we had to keep an eye one. Well the negative one died in 6 months and the positive one lasted a year. Yes they can still trasmitt the disease. Getting the vaccine doesn't ensure that they won't get it. (My vet doesn't recommend the vaccine for this reason.)
post #6 of 6
By the sound of things, it seems like your FeLV+ cat is still doing fine. If this is the case, then there is no way I could justify putting him down.

The far better option would be to isolate him for the time being and work on finding a home for the 6-month-old kitten, who should be fairly easy to adopt out.
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