Feline Leukemia |
What are the signs and symptoms of feline lukiema?
Feline leukemia is caused by a virus that is spread between cats by bites or close, long-term contact. It does not infect people. Some infected cats become immune to the virus and do not become sick. However, these cats may still be able to spread the virus to other healthy cats. For cats that become ill, it is a very serious and fatal disease. The virus suppresses the cat's immune system and causes him or her to become susceptible to many other serious diseases. It can also cause tumors or other types of cancer. The best way to prevent the disease is to keep cats indoors so that they do not become infected by other cats. Cats can also be tested, using a blood test, to see if they have been infected with the virus. There are vaccines available, that offer some protection, but they are not completely effective in keeping cats safe from infection.
Laura Hungerford, DVM, MPH, PhD
University of Maryland
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Update: June 2012