All kittens and newly adopted cats should be tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Viruses. This simple blood test should be repeated 60 days later. Depending on your cat’s risk of exposure to these infections, annual testing may be recommended.
Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is one of the most common infectious diseases in cats, affecting between 2 and 3% of all cats in the United States. Infection rates are significantly higher (up to 30%) in cats that are ill or otherwise at high risk (see below). Fortunately, the prevalence of FeLV in cats has decreased significantly in the past 25 years since the development of an effective vaccine and accurate testing procedures.
Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is one of the most common and consequential infectious diseases of cats around the world. In infected cats, FIV attacks the immune system, leaving the cat vulnerable to many other infections. Although cats infected with FIV may appear normal for years, they eventually suffer from immune deficiency, which allows normally harmless bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi found in the everyday environment to potentially cause severe illnesses. Though there is no cure for FIV, recent studies suggest that cats with FIV commonly live average life spans, as long as they are not also infected with feline leukemia virus.
Our veterinary team can perform a risk assessment for your pet and make individualized recommendations for your furry family member. Call us today to schedule your pet’s exam!
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