Feline Leukemia and its Treatments

Feline Leukemia is a disease particular to the cats, caused by Feline leukemia virus (FeLV). The disease damages the immune system of the cats and causes multiple types of cancer. It is the next life threatening disease after trauma that causes 85% death in cats living in the households. FeLV affects all breeds between the age of one to six years and generally males are more prone to this disease than females.

Types of FeLV infections:

FeLV infection can be mainly divided into three types, i.e., FeLV – A, FeLV – B, or FeLV – C.

FeLV – A: It may occur in all cats infected with FeLV. FeLV – A severely impairs the immune system of cats (immunosuppression).

FeLV – B: Around 50% of total FeLV infected cats are found with this type. It causes tumors and other abnormal tissue growths.

FeLV – C: It is the least common type of FeLV infection, occurs in around 1 percent of FeLV infected cats. The feline friends infected with this type suffer from severe anemia.

Symptoms of FeLV:

  • Anemia
  • Lethargy
  • Abscesses
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Progressive weight loss
  • Fever (seen in about 50 percent of cases)
  • Inflammation of the gums and/or mouth tissues
  • Fibrosarcomas (cancer that develops from fibrous tissue)
  • Lymphoma (the most common FeLV-associated cancer)
  • Infections of the external ear and skin and poor coat condition
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated or drunken-appearing gait or movement
  • Inflammation of the nose, the cornea, or the moist tissues of the eye


Veterinarians prescribe medications to treat the symptoms as well as the causes of leukemia. Once the health of your cat becomes stable, they recommend yearly cat leukemia vaccination for respiratory and intestinal viruses. Usually, cats are not hospitalized unless they have severe extreme weight loss, other secondary infections or low red-blood cell count. If they show such symptoms they are kept under hospital care until their health condition stabilizes.


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