Diagnosing FeLV

As a cat caretaker you will not be able to self-diagnose FeLV. It is a complicated disease made more complicated by the fact that it suppresses the cat’s immune system, thereby increasing the effect of other illnesses that are allowed to develop and which have their own symptoms.

However, it is said by vets that about 25% of all sick cats seen by vets have FeLV. That information is a diagnostic tool. FeLV is reponsible for other cat diseases. It is the 2nd most common cause of cat deaths after injury (trauma).

The first signs occur 2-6 weeks after exposure. The initial illness last from 2-16 weeks.

The difficulty is that the signs of FeLV initially are “non-specific”. In layman’s language they are unclear and don’t point to this disease.

Signs include fever, apathy, loss of appetite and a loss of weight.

The cat might vomit.

There may be diarrhea or constipation.

The cat’s mucous membranes might be pale indicating anemia. Mucous membranes can be seen in the mouth.

The disease developes in various ways. Cats with “persistent viremia” (the virus is in the bloodstream) allow other diseases to develop with a wide range of symptoms causing a complexity that requires the attentions of a good vet.

I am sure vets may misdiagnose! If the initial signs as metioned are present this has to be a visit to the vet as soon as possible.

Vets employ two types of blood test to diagnose FeLV.


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This entry was posted in Cat Health, FeLV Positive and tagged , , by Michael Broad. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!

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