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Feline Leukaemia Virus

Feline leukaemia virus is a viral infection occurring worldwide and was first discovered in 1964.

The virus is spread in large quantities from an infected cat within their saliva, as well as faeces, urine and milk. The virus is short lived outside the infected host and will not survive in the environment for any length of time. Therefore cats are most likely to become infected through direct contact/ingestion of the virus. The virus will then to begin to replicate within tissues and spread within the animal’s immune system.

Immunosuppression is one of the biggest clinical signs of this disease, where individuals will suffer from persistent or reoccurring diseases with progressive deterioration over time. Clinical signs can vary between each individual but may include fever, lethargy, weight loss, inappetance, and persistent or reoccurring respiratory, skin and intestinal issues. In more severe cases anaemia and neoplasia may also be seen.


FELV can be diagnosed by an in-house snap test using a small blood sample.

Unfortunately as per other diseases there is no cure for this disease and therefore infected cats are managed symptomatic and with supportive therapy.

Vaccination can provide prevention of this disease. At Milton Keynes Veterinary Group, we will always discuss your pet vaccinations and your concerns. Our practice protocol is to revaccinate against Feline Leukaemia Virus on a yearly basis following primary vaccinations, in accordance to vaccine manufacture guidance.

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