How long does a cat live with feline leukemia?

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The feline leukemia It is one of the most frequent and severe viral diseases that affects the immune system mainly in young cats. It is not transmissible to humans, but its contagion usually occurs easily among cats that live in feline groups.

To demystify feline leukemia and know how to prevent, recognize and proceed with its diagnosis, it is necessary to inform yourself. In this opportunity, AnimalWised proposes you to know a little more about how much long lives a cat with feline leukemia.

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  1. What is the life expectancy of a cat with feline leukemia?
  2. Factors that influence the life expectancy of a cat with leukemia
  3. Truths and myths about feline leukemia

What is the life expectancy of a cat with feline leukemia?

Estimating how long a cat lives with feline leukemia is a complex question and difficult to pin down even for veterinarians who are experts in the pathology. If we want to mention some figures, we can say that about 25% of cats with feline leukemia die up to 1 year after being diagnosed. But 75% survive from 1 to 3 years with the virus active in your body.

Many owners despair at the thought that their cats may carry the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV or FeLV), but this diagnosis does not always mean a condemnation of rapid death. In fact, about 30% of FeLV-infected cats carry the virus latently, and do not even develop feline leukemia..

Factors that influence the life expectancy of a cat with leukemia

In general, the life expectancy of a sick cat depends on many internal and external aspects of its body. Here we summarize the main factors that can influence how long a cat lives with feline leukemia..

  • Stage in which the diagnosis is madeAlthough it is not a rule, early diagnosis almost always usually improves the prognosis of feline leukemia and increases the life expectancy of the sick cat. During the early stages of feline leukemia (mainly between stages I and III), the immune system tries to "stop" the action of the FeLV virus. If we begin to strengthen the immune system of the cat already during these stages (which requires an early diagnosis), the result can generate a delay in the severe damaging effects that the virus causes when reaching the bone marrow, a fact that allows better survival when animal.
  • Response to treatmentIf we are successful in strengthening the immune system of the sick cat and its response to treatments is positive, its life expectancy will be longer. For this, certain drugs, holistic treatments and vitamins are usually used for cats with feline leukemia..
  • Health status and preventive medicine: a cat that is vaccinated and regularly dewormed, that maintains a balanced diet, and is physically and mentally stimulated throughout its life, tends to have a stronger immune system and respond better to treatment for feline leukemia.
  • Nutrition: a cat's diet directly influences its quality of life, mood and also its immune system. Felines with leukemia require a diet reinforced in vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients that can be found in premium range balanced foods.
  • Environment: cats that experience sedentary routines or that live in negative, stressful or little stimulating environments can suffer the detrimental effects of stress on their immune system, becoming more vulnerable to numerous pathologies.
  • Owner commitment: the health and well-being of our pets always depend on our commitment. And this becomes even more decisive when it comes to a sick animal. Although a cat may have been very independent throughout its life, it will not be able to treat itself, feed itself properly, strengthen its immune system, or provide itself with better life quality by itself. Therefore, the dedication of the owner is essential to improve the life expectancy of a cat with leukemia..

Truths and myths about feline leukemia

¿How much do you know about feline leukemia? Being a complex condition that, for many years, raised many disagreements even among veterinary specialists, it is understandable that there are many fanciful ideas about leukemia in cats. To become better aware of this pathology, we invite you to know some myths and truths.

  • Feline leukemia and blood cancer are synonymous: ¡MYTH!

Feline Leukemia Virus is actually a type of cancer virus (or oncovirus) that can cause tumors, but not all cats diagnosed with leukemia develop blood cancer. It is important to clarify that feline leukemia is not synonymous with feline AIDS, which is caused by the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV).

  • Cats can get feline leukemia easily: ¡TRUE!

Unfortunately, cats can easily contract Feline Leukemia Virus through direct contact with the bodily fluids of other infected cats. The FeLV usually stay mostly in the saliva of sick cats, but it can also be deposited in their urine, blood, milk and feces. For this reason, felines that live in groups are usually more susceptible to this pathology, since they are in permanent contact with possibly sick animals..

  • Humans can get feline leukemia: ¡MYTH!

As we said, feline leukemia it is not transmitted to humans, nor to dogs, birds, turtles and other "non-feline " pets. It is a pathology typical of cats, although it may show similarities in its symptoms and prognosis with leukemia in dogs.

  • Feline leukemia has no cure: ¡TRUE!

Unfortunately, a cure for feline leukemia is still unknown, and there is no cure for feline AIDS either. Therefore, in both cases, prevention is key to preserve the health and well-being of the animal. Currently, we find a vaccine for feline leukemia, whose effectiveness is around 80%, and is an excellent preventive measure for cats that have not been exposed to FeLV. We can also reduce the chances of contagion by avoiding contact with infected or unknown animals. And if you decide to adopt a new kitten to keep your feline company, it is essential to carry out the necessary clinical studies to diagnose possible pathologies..

  • A cat diagnosed with feline leukemia dies quickly: ¡MYTH!

As we explained to you, the life expectancy of a sick animal depends on various factors, such as the stage in which the pathology is diagnosed, the animal's response to treatment, etc. Therefore, not necessarily the answer to the question "¿how long does a cat with feline leukemia live? ”must be negative.

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