Today’s post is a cautionary tale of two cat diseases.
Feline Leukemia Virus is known as “the disease of friendly cats” because it is transmitted from one cat to another through licking each other, sharing food and water bowls and litterboxes. Saliva, urine and stool all carry large amounts of virus and it easily passes from one cat to another.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus is “the disease of angry cats.” There is but one easy way to transmit the virus, and that is via the bite of an infected cat. Typically it needs to be a deep bite, as well.
Enter Tiger, the beautiful but thin cat who came to our hospital this morning with three normal legs and one as fat as a banana. Tiger had been scrapping with “that big, black cat that’s been hanging around,” according to his owner.
Tiger had been losing weight for some time. Our first step was to obtain blood for a combination Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)/Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) test and to obtain a stool sample to test for intestinal parasites.
It was a tense twenty minutes as we awaited the results of the blood test that would tell us whether Tiger had a death sentence. Or not. Fortunately, both parts of the test came out negative.
We’ve written before about the importance of keeping your kitties indoors . There is no treatment for either FeLV or FIV. While FeLV tends to kill more slowly, both diseases will result in the death of your precious feline friend.
There is prevention of FeLV in the form of a two-dose vaccine. There is a vaccine for FIV but its use can be problematic and is not widespread.
Both diseases can also be prevented by keeping your cat indoors, away from cats who may be carrying disease. Even indoor cats must be vaccinated, even if the chance of their going outside is extremely small. It’s simply cheap insurance.
Tiger must have another test in two (2) months, and he’s not out of the woods until he has two negative tests in a row. Still, things are looking much brighter for him.
We cleaned up the multiple wounds on his right front leg from the cat fight he had been in, gave him an injection of Convenia long-acting antibiotic injection and he should make a quick and full recovery.
Still, he and we and his owners will be on the edge of our seats until we get that second blood test in two months.