Feline Leukemia in Ukiah, CA: What it is and Why the Vaccine is Important
Feline Leukemia is a dreaded diagnosis for most pet owners. This is not a common ailment for house cats, but it can happen if you get a cat from a rescue who has not been diagnosed at the time that you adopt them. Cats with leukemia will always have a shorter lifespan than cats who have not been infected with this disease and many pet owners live in fear of this diagnosis for their beloved pet. This is one of the reasons that the vaccine is so important and owners who have young cats should make sure that they consider this a priority for their pet’s health.
While Feline Leukemia is not as common as some other conditions, the serious nature of this disease and the ease with which it can be communicated to other cats makes it important for cat owners to vaccinate for it.
If you are ready to learn more about Feline Leukemia and why it is important to vaccinate against it, read on!
What is Feline Leukemia?
Feline Leukemia is a virus that only infects cats. This condition depresses the immune system and cats who have this condition can get persistent colds and other health problems. Cats with Feline Leukemia infections get sick easily as well and even a simple illness or injury can be fatal due to the depressed state of their immune system.
There is no cure for this condition and the only option for cats who have this condition is the management of their living conditions and treatment for any kind of health concern that shows up right away.
This condition can make even management of your cat’s weight and skin health tough, and you might find that your cat will have a variety of ongoing health challenges due to their leukemia.
Why the Vaccine is so Important
While there is a blood test for FeLV infection, there is no treatment for this condition at this time. The test is very reliable but the treatment options for your cat are very limited once they have contracted the disease.
This is the key reason why vaccination is so important for your cat’s health. Preventing infection is always the best option when compared to trying to take care of a cat that has a confirmed diagnosis.
You will not be able to vaccinate your cat after they have been diagnosed with leukemia. This makes early vaccination essential for the long—term health of your cat and the other cats in your household.
Is the Vaccine Effective?
FeLV vaccines are very effective and have been around for years. You can count on this vaccine to offer great protection for your cat, but it will not offer 100% protection. Even if the cats in your home have been vaccinated and you get a new cat that is sick with the disease, you cannot be sure that your other cats will not get the disease from your new cat.
This is one of the reasons that it is not recommended to get a cat with leukemia if you already have other cats in your household. You will not be able to be sure that your other cats can be kept safe and healthy if you expose them to a cat that has the disease.
There are some limited options that you can use to try and keep your cats separated but there is no good solution to prevent communication of the disease to your other pets.
How Does the Vaccine Work?
The vaccine is administered as a two-vaccine series to make sure that the immunity is complete. You will have to revaccinate your cat over time because the benefits of the vaccine will fade over the years. This is recommended if your cat must be boarded or might be exposed to other cats that are not vaccinated.
The vaccine can be given at 9 weeks of age and the second dose will be given 3-4 weeks later. This should be supported with a booster every year as well. This is the best method to make sure that your cats are as safe as possible and protected against contracting this disease.
What Are the Signs of Feline Leukemia?
This disease can be hard to diagnose at first, but a vet will recognize the signs right away in most cases.
- Loss of appetite
- Dull coat
- Weight loss
- Large lymph nodes
- Pale gums
- Persistent fever
- Gum infections
- Eye problems
- Behavior changes
- Skin infections
- Urinary infections
- Abortion of kittens
- Neurological disorders
Sometimes your cat will be diagnosed when they don’t heal from a small injury or infection. Your veterinarian might also just go ahead and test your cat if they were a stray before you got them. This can be a common infection that stray cats can contract, and it should be considered a possibility anytime that you take in a stray cat that needs a home.
Feline Leukemia is Very Serious
Feline Leukemia is such a serious condition that you should always make sure to vaccinate your cats for it. This is the best way to prevent your cat from contracting this deadly disease later in its life and it is a very reliable vaccine that can be trusted to offer great results for this goal. You will not be able to vaccinate a cat that already has the disease, and you will want to avoid having to take care of a cat that has a series of lifelong illnesses related to this condition.
If you are planning to take in a stray, you should always make sure to test your cat for this condition. You will find that many cats that have been strays will have the disease and you will need to figure out how to keep your other cats safe from exposure to the disease due to this new cat. You will find that it can be hard to manage this illness in many ways and you will want to keep all of your cats safe and secure from the disease if possible.
To talk with your Mendocino Animal Hospital veterinarian about managing your pet’s Feline Leukemia call (707) 462-8833 or book an appointment online!
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About Mendocino Animal Hospital
At Mendocino Animal Hospital, we believe in fostering the human-animal bond with excellent veterinary medicine. Our full-service veterinary practice operates in Ukiah, CA with a team of skilled veterinarians and a passionate, talented support staff who make you feel like a part of the family.
As an AAHA-accredited animal hospital, every service and aspect of our practice meets AAHA’s Standards of Excellence. No matter what your pet comes in for, they’ll receive only the best in care, compassion, and service.