Vaccinating for Feline Leukaemia Virus (FeLV)

The FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus) vaccination is a must for any outdoor cat. FeLV is a lifelong infection and most cats who catch it die within three to four years of diagnosis.

FeLV affects the cat’s immune system, meaning that they are more likely to get infections, and develop anaemia and lymphoma.


How does FeLV spread?


FeLV is not airborne and can only be passed on through contact with other cats, usually through saliva. This could be through grooming or shared water bowls, but it could also be through bites when fighting with other cats.


What are the symptoms of FeLV?


If your cat is often getting infections of any kind, is losing weight, has fever, lethargy and often has diarrhoea, then these can all be signs that they might have FeLV. If you notice any of these symptoms, or have any concerns please contact your local Best Friends Vet.


How is FeLV tested for?


A blood sample will need to be taken from your cat. This can normally be tested in-house and results provided within a few minutes. Sometimes the test is done more than once, as a healthy cat who has been exposed to FeLV might test positive for the virus, but then recover from it in a few weeks’ time.

Repeat testing will show whether the cat has recovered from the virus, or whether the virus remains.


How is FeLV treated?


Once a cat has FeLV there is no cure. It is best to keep the cat indoors, and away from other cats to prevent the spread of the virus.

Ensuring that they are kept away from any sources of infection will help to keep them as healthy as possible, but sadly FeLV will shorten a cat’s lifespan so regular trips to the Vet will be needed for check-ups and treating of any infections your cat may have.

Due to the serious nature of this virus, we recommend that you vaccinate your cat against FeLV. Talk to your local Best Friends Branch about vaccination today


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