Feline Leukemia: Symptoms and Treatments for Cats in Rye, NH
Have you ever heard of feline leukemia? Is there a chance your cat could be at risk for this serious health problem? Would you like to find out more about the symptoms and any potential treatments for feline leukemia?
In the article below, we’ll break down the basics of feline leukemia to help you learn more about this life-threatening illness. With the help of this information, you can choose talking points for your next vet visit or decide when it might be time to take your cat in for a diagnosis instead. Read on to find out more.
- Appetite loss: One of the first signs of feline leukemia is loss of appetite. Cats may show this symptom with a variety of other health problems too, however, so it is important to remember that loss of appetite alone does not indicate feline leukemia necessarily. If your cat’s appetite loss does not improve in a couple of days, it is time to talk to the vet about what could be causing it.
- Significant weight loss: Significant, rapid, and unexplained weight loss are all symptoms that go along with feline leukemia as well. Your cat may become extremely thin in a very short amount of time, and this is an indication that something is seriously wrong.
- Frequent fever: Many cats with feline leukemia experience frequent, persistent fevers. These fevers occur often and are difficult to get under control. They may be mild to severe, so it is important to learn how to check your cat’s temperature. If your cat has a severe fever, she needs to be seen by an emergency vet.
- Pale gums: Pale gums are another common sign associated with feline leukemia. Check your cat’s gums regularly so you can notice any signs of a change in color before the problem worsens.
- Poor coat health: Cats with feline leukemia are likely to have poor coat health. This is partly because they do not feel like grooming themselves normally, and partly because of the effects the illness has on the body. Cats with poor coat health do not always have feline leukemia, but this symptom along with others listed here may indicate a serious problem with your cat’s health.
- Diarrhea: Diarrhea, especially diarrhea that occurs very often and uncontrollably, is a sign of feline leukemia. Cats with this illness may experience diarrhea so severe that they cannot make it to the litter box in time. Many cats with feline leukemia have diarrhea every time they go to the litter box, which can lead to severe dehydration very quickly.
- Behavioral changes: As the illness progresses, cats may experience frequent behavioral changes. These neurological symptoms are signs that the condition is worsening. Cats may become aggressive when they never were before, or may suddenly develop fears they never had previously. It is important to be patient with cats who are experiencing this symptom.
- Frequent secondary infections: Finally, cats with feline leukemia have frequent secondary infections as well. These infections may include urinary tract issues, dental health problems, respiratory infections, digestive trouble, and more.
- There is no treatment for feline leukemia. If your cat is diagnosed with this condition, there is nothing the vet can do to resolve it. The best you can do for your cat at this point is to help her stay well and comfortable throughout the rest of her life.
- Ideally, you should protect your cat from contracting feline leukemia in the first place. Do not let your cat roam outdoors, and always have your pet vaccinated against this illness.
- Management of overall health: Your cat will need to see the vet very often to keep up with her regular health needs. By keeping the rest of her body as healthy as possible, you can give your cat a good chance at living for some time with feline leukemia.
- Management of secondary infections: Cats with feline leukemia are prone to frequent secondary infections, so work with your vet to stay on top of these problems too. As soon as you notice the first symptom of an infection, take your cat to the vet to be examined and to receive the right treatment for this secondary issue.
Feline leukemia is a serious problem for cats and is almost always fatal. Up to 90% of cats who are infected with feline leukemia die within three years of their diagnosis. Extremely rarely, some cats may live much longer with the condition; however, this is not very likely.
If you suspect your cat may have feline leukemia, talk to your vet for more information. Your vet can help you choose the right management options for your pet throughout the rest of her life. Additionally, your vet can answer questions you may have about the illness and what it means for your pet.
We're proud to have many long-time staff members at our hospital who get along like family and treat their patients and clients the same. The compassion and commitment of our veterinarians and staff make our team a reliable, trusted partner for you and your pet.