FELINE LEUKEMIA FIRST VAC
Our records show your kitten/cat is due to be administered a Feline Leukemia Virus Vaccine. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is one of the three long-term, incurable viral diseases of cats. FeLV infection is responsible for more deaths among cats than any other infectious disease, making it the most devastating feline disease worldwide. In the United States, FeLV infects about 2% to 3% of all cats. Since there are 70 million cats in the United States, this means there are more than 2.3 million cats suffering from this disease right now! The virus affects domestic cats and occurs in some wild felines as well.
Tom cats are 1.7 times more likely to be infected than females, and outdoor cats are 5 times more likely to be infected than indoor cats. Cats from catteries and cats that live in multi-cat households are much higher risk of FeLV than indoor cats.
FeLV usually spreads through infected saliva, urine, tears, and feces, and through an infected mother to her kittens during gestation and nursing. Twenty percent of FeLV-positive mothers pass the virus to their kittens. Methods of transmission include the following:
· Bite wounds from infected cats (this is a huge risk for outdoor & indoor-outdoor cats)
· Mouth and nose contact with infected saliva or urine
· Mutual grooming
· Nose-to-nose contact such as through a window screen
· Shared food dishes, water bowls, litter trays
The doctors of Windmill Animal Hospital have reliable diagnostic tests to detect FeLV; the test is run on-site, with results in only 10 minutes.
There is no cure for FeLV. All treatments are aimed at relieving pain and discomfort. Prevention, through vaccinations and keeping your cat indoors, is the key!
Several vaccines are available to protect your cat(s) from contracting FeLV. The vaccines are generally safe, although your cat may appear sick or sluggish for a few hours, to a couple of days afterward. Although highly reliable, FeLV vaccines are not 100% effective. Vaccinated cats may develop a short-lived infection after heavy exposure to FeLV, but rarely do they develop clinical disease. Kittens should be vaccinated at 9 to 10 weeks of age, again 3 to 4 weeks later, and then 1 year later. All outdoor cats, indoor-outdoor cats, cats living with outdoor cats or indoor-outdoor cats, and cats from catteries or multi-cat households should be re-vaccinated annually. Indoor-only cats living in 1 or 2 cat households should be re-vaccinated every 3 years, if adjuvant-containing vaccines are used.
Cats present a unique challenge, due to some health concerns found only in felines. Some cats (approximately 1 in 30,000) have an immune system that has a familial tendency to react to vaccines inappropriately. In these cats, the vaccine site is chronically inflamed post-vaccine, which can develop into a tumor. Because of this, the only Feline Leukemia vaccine for cats used at Windmill Animal Hospital is the adjuvant-free vaccine, PureVax. This vaccine is licensed to be given annually.