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Adopted new kitty-- Felv positive(feline leukemia)

post #1 of 6
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So I work at a veterinary office and I came in on Thursday around 1pm. First thing I hear when I walk in the door is about some poor kitty needing a home or it was going to be euthanized! Story is, these people find this young male cat outside their house. It seems friendly enough, so they bring it in their house overnight--they already had an appointment for one of their existing cats to come in to our hospital the next day so they called and asked if they could bring the new addition too.

So they get to our hospital and first thing, they do the FIV/FelV combo test and he comes up positive for FelV. So at this point, the owners are called and informed and they decide they can't keep the cat because he puts their cats at risk and they are given the option to euthanize(which is apparently a common first choice with this virus) and they choose to do it.

This is where I come in...so it's a young cat, about 8 months old--has every parasite under the sun: ear mites, fleas, hookworms, roundworms, it's torn it's ears up scratching at the mites and it's Feline Leukemia positive. The owners are so grateful for me taking him--they felt bad about putting him down, but didn't know what to do. But he seems healthy and energetic right now so I take him. I don't have other cats, just a small dog and ferrets.

He's doing well with me, very friendly, playful, we've treated the worms, mites and fleas. Put soft paws on him. Gets along with my dog ok. He's getting neutered this week. We vaccinated him for everything, including Feline Leukemia--the Dr. advised it, she says she's read some indication that the vaccine can help suppress the virus and that if he's going to be vaccinated it should be while he has a good immune system and is healthy. My question is directed at people with experience with Feline Leukemia. The Drs. I work with tell me he has maybe 3 years and that he'll eventually develop cancer and that I should look out for upper respiratory distress and other symptoms. Any owners here have information for me?
post #2 of 6
Hi and Welcome to TCS!!

I take in exclusively FeLV kitties so I have a little experience

As far as the kitty having 3 years, well, there is no time frame with leukemia. I have lost kittens and I have had cats for over 5 years, some people I've heard have had positives live up to 10 years! It's really luck of the draw, and you're not the one drawing

It is true that you need to very closely watch your kitty for any sign of sickness, they need to be treated ASAP. Stronger anti-biotics are usually the way to go, in other words, Amoxycillin does nothing. I don't know how much you've read on leukemia, but leukemia is not really leukemia, as in human leukemia. It is a retro-virus very similar to HIV and FIV, which translates to their immune system is very compromised and that is why they need to be treated immediately for any sign of illness.

As far as giving your kitty the vaccine, everything I've read has said that it does nothing for an already infected cat not to knock the vet you work for, but FeLV is a very very misunderstood disease and unless a vet really follows the latest findings, they most likely do not know the latest info available.

I recommend doing your own research, some sites I found helpful are
post #3 of 6
You are such a sweet person for taking this kitty!!! Your story made my day I hope the kitten gets to enjoy long time in your company....Sorry I don't have any advice to give you but I don't know much about FeLV...
post #4 of 6
Katiemae is our resident expert for FeLV!

I don't have FeLV cats, but do have 2 with other auto-immune diseases. The thing that works best with mine is to keep as low a level of stress as possible within my household. This is both physically and emotionally. I feed as good a food as they will eat (wet preferred over dry), I keep a fairly consistent routine (feed at the same times each day), and make sure they get plenty of love and attention.

Cats are very sensitive to changes in their environment and a little bit of stress in you can also set them off. My Muddy's last 2 trips to the emergency room happened 1) on the day a friend of mine died and I was gone all day - got home at 1AM to find him so ill that I had to take him in, and 2) a few days after I had surgery and my husband and I changed our daily routine - DH started to feed and pill him rather than I and he didn't like the change.

Cats love routine. It keeps them stress free and therefore more healthy to keep things the same.
post #5 of 6
That's great of you to take him in!!

Sorry to hijack but I have a question too. Katiemae, you said amoxycillin does nothing? We just found out our kitten has FeLV and has been on amoxy for a couple of weeks now. He's making progress but VERY slowly. We weren't sure if that was normal for an FeLV cat or what. What would you suggest we ask our vet about? He has a cold. Thanks!!
post #6 of 6
I commend your actions. Much love coming your way.
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