Feline Leukemia is a virus that, as the name implies, affects cats. It is one of the most feared viruses among cat owners, yet is one of the easiest viruses to prevent through vaccination. Historically, FeLV was considered a fatal virus, and it was recommended that cats be euthanized to prevent the spread. Fortunately much research has occurred since then.
Cats contract FeLV through contact with bodily fluids (saliva, urine, semen) from an infected cat. Research has shown that nearly 70% or greater cats can rid the virus from their body. The length of time that cats are successful with this clearance is approximately 3 months or less. This is the basis for retesting positive cats. If a cat tests positive for a second time after 3 months, these will likely be unable to clear the virus. These cats will often succumb to their disease within 3 years. If a cat is presented to the hospital due to an illness and it is determined that FeLV is the culprit, these cats could still clear the virus, but prognosis is poor. Those that seem to clear the virus are those that we find the virus incidentally through annual vaccinations/testing. Feline Leukemia positive cats should be isolated from healthy, non-infected cats to prevent transmission of this potentially deadly virus.
FeLV is a virus that can do "whatever it wants". As the name implies, it can createa leukemia type of cancer. It can create tumors within or on the body or create organ dysfunction. Treatment is directed at the specific condition as the virus cannot be targeted