Kittens Born With Feline Leukemia (FeLV): Symptoms, Cause, Treatment

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Feline viral leukemia, also called feline leukosis, is one of the most deadly viral severe diseases in cats that infect each other very quickly. Cats that live mainly outdoors are the most exposed to this pathology. Let's see how kittens born with feline leukemia, the exact cause of feline viral leukemia, the main symptoms that should be alert, the diagnosis and the possible means of treatment, and the prevention solutions.

Kittens Born With Feline Leukemia

Kittens Born With Feline Leukemia: a virus involved

This retrovirus infection is fatal. It mainly affects uncastrated cats and those who live in a community or often go out. Cats easily transmit the FelV virus to each other through blood, urine, stool, saliva, etc. The modes of contamination are:

Sexual contact,

Bites and fights of all kinds,

Sharing bowls and litter,

In the intrauterine route, since the cat infects its young during gestation, Sometimes kittens born with feline leukemia. The FeLV virus is also automatically transmitted to kittens when she licks and nurses them.

Cat viral leukemia: symptoms

This severe cat disease does not present specific symptoms, so certain manifestations can be attributed to another pathology. These are, for example:

From a more or less significant state of dejection,

A loss of appetite, even anorexia,


From anemia.

But feline viral leukemia leads to secondary infections or even certain cancers; the cat can present other symptoms than those mentioned above, such as:

weight loss,


breathing difficulties,

Infections (eye, mouth, skin),

An increase in lymph nodes,

Neurological disorders.

In some cats, the virus can remain dormant in the animal's body for years. In any case, in the slightest doubt, do not hesitate to consult a veterinarian, especially since the complexity of feline viral leukemia makes its diagnosis difficult.

Kittens Born With Feline Leukemia

Feline viral leukemia: a complex diagnosis

When the veterinarian suspects kittens born with feline leukemia, he prescribes the first series of additional tests to confirm or refute his diagnosis; blood tests, urinalysis, and imaging (radiography) are essential. After studying the first results, an Elisa test is a must. The cat is then subjected to two serological tests in a veterinary clinic. They allow the practitioner to ensure that the cat suffers from leucosis. These tests are essential to detect blood platelets and leukocytes (white blood cells), the antigens of the virus in question. The results are obtained quickly.

If both tests indicate that a cat is infected, this tends to confirm that the cat might have contracted a virus and will have it for its entire life if not treated. However, false positives are possible. In other cases, one can obtain a positive and negative test, particularly when the infection begins. Two new tests are then carried out 90 days later. They can be harmful, especially if the cat is a latent carrier. This means it is indeed infected but does not show any particular signs.

Kittens Born With Feline Leukemia

Feline viral leukemia: a condition without effective treatment

Currently, no treatment can completely eradicate feline leucosis, which causes the death of 9 infected cats out of 10 within four years. This is because of infections and dysfunctions that arise from viral leukemia. This happens, for example, by:

Rehydration of the animal,

A diet,

A blood transfusion,


At the same time, the animal must not be in contact with other cats to limit the risk of contamination..

Kittens Born With Feline Leukemia

How to prevent feline viral leukemia?

The first solution to prevent feline viral leukemia is to have your cat vaccinated, especially if it has to spend a lot of time outdoors. The second solution is to opt for sterilization as soon as possible. A sterilized cat fights less with its congeners. The risks of contamination are therefore reduced.

The cat remains infected with the FeLV virus after the treatment. But The cat's immune system must be strong enough. Conversely, infected cats with weak immune systems eventually fall ill, and for 8 out of 10 of them, the outcome is fatal within a few months or at least three years.


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