Feline Leukemia Virus

The feline leukemia virus is a disease that attacks your cat’s white blood cells. Many cats that contract that virus are able to build an immunity to it. However, young kittens and sick cats with a weakened immune system can easily die from an infection.

Feline Leukemia Virus


The feline leukemia virus is mostly shed in secretions from the nose and mouth. However, it can also be shed in feces and urine. Mothers can also infect their kittens via their milk. It is also possible for the virus to be transmitted via a bite wound.


Cats typically show no symptoms in the initial stages of this illness. The cat’s health will eventually worsen as the disease progresses over a period of weeks, months, or years. Symptoms vary widely and include appetite loss, pale mucus membranes, chronic diarrhea, and various eye conditions. It is also common for cats to experience neurological disorders such as seizures.


Your veterinarian can use one of two types of blood tests to detect the feline leukemia virus in your cat’s bloodstream. These tests may need to be repeated in order to confirm the diagnosis. A more definitive diagnosis can be made by using both types of tests.


Unfortunately, there is no cure for the feline leukemia virus. Secondary bacterial infections can be treated using antibiotics. Your cat may also need chemotherapy or blood transfusions. Any other supportive care is aimed to giving your cat a better quality of life.


The best way to keep your cat from contracting the feline leukemia virus is to keep it away from other cats that may be infected. This essentially means to keep it indoors and away from feral cats who may bite him. There is also a vaccination available to protect from the feline leukemia virus.