Prevent Leukemia/Lymphosarcoma in Cats

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Posted by: H.R.
Pets Best Insurance Editorial Manager
A veterinarian exams a sick cat.
A major pet health concern in cats is Lymphosarcoma– which is the most common type of feline cancer. Lymphosarcoma is often caused by the feline leukemia virus (FeLV). According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, approximately 2% to 3% of all cats are infected with FeLV. Reduce your cat’s risk of getting lymphosarcomas by eliminating his risk of getting feline leukemia and vaccinating him if he is at risk.

Kittens under 4 months of age are more susceptible to the feline leukemia virus than older cats. Cat health care may be at risk if the cat lives outdoors. Cats that are at risk to exposure to feline leukemia should be vaccinated to lessen their chance of contracting the virus. It is not recommended to vaccinate cats that have no risk of exposure. The number-one way to prevent cats from getting feline leukemia is to eliminate their risk of getting the virus by keeping them indoors.

Cat leukemia symptoms can include loss of appetite, slow weight loss, unhealthy looking coat, enlarged lymph nodes, fever, inflammation of the mouth and gums. Cats with feline leukemia are more prone to infections of the skin, bladder and upper respiratory tract. In addition, cats can have eye conditions from the disease.

Feline leukemia is transmitted via cat to cat contact. The virus is spread through saliva, nasal secretions, urine, feces and milk from cats infected with the virus. The most common way feline leukemia is transmitted is by an infected cat biting another cat. Kittens can also be infected with the virus from their infected mother while they are in utero or when they nurse the mother.

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