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How to Prevent the Spread of Feline Leukemia (FeLV)

Updated: Apr 12, 2020

Feline leukemia virus (also known as FeLV) is a common feline disease that spreads through urine, saliva, or nose discharge. Cats that get affected by this deadly disease tend to fall ill soon after contracting the virus as it attacks their immune systems. As a result, they’re likely to experience bone marrow failure while some cats may also suffer from bladder infection, diarrhea, and skin disease.

Feline leukemia is normally transmitted when non-vaccinated cats come in contact with infected ones, most of which are usually stray or feral cats. Friendly contact, sharing of water bowls or litter boxes, or (either angry or playful) bites can lead to the virus getting transmitted. Additionally, if an infected female cat is pregnant or nursing, it can also transmit the virus to the kitten.

We know, thinking of your beloved pet falling ill is a scary prospect. The good news is, you can take preventative measures to stop the virus from affecting your cat.

How to Protect Your Cat From Feline Leukemia Virus

There are quite a few things you can do to keep your cat safe and healthy. These include:

Keeping Your Cat Indoors

We’re not saying you should keep your cat locked in at all hours. The poor animal needs fresh air and sunlight just as you do. However, you should nevertheless keep your cat within your house for the most part of the day to minimize contact with outdoor cats. When you do go outside, it’s best to use a cat leash.

Similarly, if you have a balcony or lawn your pet can escape to, make sure you’re keeping a close eye on it while it’s there. This will again help minimize the chances of it interacting with an infected carrier cat.

Cleaning Your Cat’s Litter Box Regularly

If you keep the litter box just outside your front door or in an outdoor space, your cat may not be the only one using it. This increases the risk of your cat getting infected by the virus.

Avoid keeping the litter box outside where it may be shared by other cats. If you absolutely cannot keep it indoor, then make sure you’re cleaning it regularly.

Getting Your Cat Tested

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, if a cat shows symptoms of sickness of any kind, it should be tested. For FeLV, this is especially useful as it allows for prompt diagnosis and treatment. If you know that your cat tests negative for the virus, you can get it vaccinated and prevent it from contracting the disease at a later stage. Vaccine is also recommended if your cat is at risk of exposure.

CatDX provides pet testing services using a saliva sample. These include feline immunodeficiency virus test (FeLV) and feline leukemia test (FIV).

Order a FeLV test for your cat today!

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