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Kitten has Feline Leukemia

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I rescued a 4 kittens today. I took all 4 to vet to get combo tested. Well the older one(5mons) tested + for Leuk. One of the kittens(10 wks) was in the same carrier with her before i knew she was +. The doc sent her blood off to the lab to get a more accurate result. Right now I have the + kitty locked up. I am just worried about the other kitties that they will get it from interacting with each other. The doc wants to retest the other 3 in a month. Just to be sure they are still negative. I need some info on this disease since I am new to it all. Few questions:

1) I have read tons of things and all with different answers. How is this disease transmitted from kitty to kitty?

2) Can I give other kitties the disease just by touching the + kitty?

3) Is it true she can overcome this virus? If so how?

I will come back with more ?s
post #2 of 17
I just did a paper on this, so hopefully I can help a little bit.

1. I believe the disease is transmitted by saliva. I know cats can get it via nursing and transplacentally as well. I think on a couple of rare occasions it has been spread through cats grooming each other.

2. I don't believe it can be spread through direct contact, but secondary diseases that FeLV kitties are prone to might be transmittable that way.

3. Some cats are able to clear the virus after initial exposure. According to the stats I found, about 40%. However I think that is mostly in adult animals... younger cats are more susceptible to FeLV.
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hmm so do you think since it is a young cat it may not be able to clear the virus?
post #4 of 17
I really don't know. Your vet would though!
Has she had any kinds of symptoms yet? Like fever or weakness.. sometimes these things will appear in a mild form before the virus clears the system.. I don't know though.

hopefully someone will come along who knows more than me.
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by STLGRL5
Hmm so do you think since it is a young cat it may not be able to clear the virus?
There is very little chance that the kitten contracted it from the older kitten from being in a carrier for a short period of time. The disease can spread immediately thru violent contact (cat fights and mating), but it typically takes months of exposure for casual contact (grooming, etc).

You would be safe to separate this kitten and have it retested in 30 days, but I would not be paranoid about it.

Kittens that contract the disease really don't have the resistance to ward it off, but there are rare cases when this happens. Adult cats have a higher likelihood of fighting it off and those chances get better if they have gone thru their full round of vaccinations. Vaccinations are not 100% effective. About 10% of vaccinated cats with full exposure (as described above) will contract the disease.

And just an fyi: the combo test only tests for exposure to the disease, not the actual disease. A cat can be exposed and test positive for it while their immune system is trying to fight it off. You need to run an IFA test to check for the presence of the virus in the blood cells. This takes a full vial of blood typically sent to a lab. A cat doesn't have the disease until it is in their bloodstream.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eupnea
I really don't know. Your vet would though!
Has she had any kinds of symptoms yet? Like fever or weakness.. sometimes these things will appear in a mild form before the virus clears the system.. I don't know though.

hopefully someone will come along who knows more than me.
Well i just got her today.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany
There is very little chance that the kitten contracted it from the older kitten from being in a carrier for a short period of time. The disease can spread immediately thru violent contact (cat fights and mating), but it typically takes months of exposure for casual contact (grooming, etc).

You would be safe to separate this kitten and have it retested in 30 days, but I would not be paranoid about it.

Kittens that contract the disease really don't have the resistance to ward it off, but there are rare cases when this happens. Adult cats have a higher likelihood of fighting it off and those chances get better if they have gone thru their full round of vaccinations. Vaccinations are not 100% effective. About 10% of vaccinated cats with full exposure (as described above) will contract the disease.

And just an fyi: the combo test only tests for exposure to the disease, not the actual disease. A cat can be exposed and test positive for it while their immune system is trying to fight it off. You need to run an IFA test to check for the presence of the virus in the blood cells. This takes a full vial of blood typically sent to a lab. A cat doesn't have the disease until it is in their bloodstream.
Yep the vet is doing the IFA test. I should know those results in a few days.. So those results could come back neg you are saying?
post #8 of 17
sending vibes that the kittens are -.
post #9 of 17
sending kitten vibes too
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone!
post #11 of 17
Oops my mistake. Its easily transmittable. I was mixing it up with FIV.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by STLGRL5
Yep the vet is doing the IFA test. I should know those results in a few days.. So those results could come back neg you are saying?
Absolutely can be negative, but if the combo test was positive, it means that the cat was exposed to the virus and is trying to fight it off. If the cat loses that battle, an IFA test can go positive in the future. If the IFA test is negative, still retest in 30-60 days to see if the cat was able to overcome the disease.
post #13 of 17
Sending out healthy Vibes!!!!
post #14 of 17
O no, I'm soo sorry . Sending many healthy vibes.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
How does a cat fight off the virus?
post #16 of 17
Their immune system, like fighting off a cold.
post #17 of 17
1. Body fluid to body fluid - saliva, blood, urine, feces, and semen can all spread it, but only if it comes in contact with the other cat's body fluids.

2. No.

3. If the IFA test is negative, the cat may throw off the virus. If the IFA is positive, then the cat is extremely unlikely to throw off the virus. However, FeLV cats live very good lives. They just usually live shorter lives. It can be thought of as similar to having a pet mouse or hamster - you know up front that they only live a couple of years, but it's okay.
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