How long does a cat with feline leukemia live?
La feline leukemia It is one of the most frequent and severe viral diseases that affects the immune system mainly of 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 be informed. In this opportunity, he proposes to know a little more about how much time lives a cat with feline leukemia.
What is the life expectancy of a cat with feline leukemia?
Estimating how long a cat with feline leukemia lives is a complex issue 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 an 75% manages to survive from 1 to 3 years with the active virus in your body.
Many owners are desperate to think that their cats can carry the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV or VLFe), but not always this diagnosis means a sentence to a rapid death. In fact, about 30% of cats infected with FeLV 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 aspects internal and external to its organism. Below, we summarize the main factors that can influence how many years a cat with feline leukemia lives.
- Stage in which the diagnosis is madeAlthough it is not a rule, early diagnosis almost always improves the prognosis of feline leukemia and increases the life expectancy of the sick cat. During the first phases of feline leukemia (mainly between phases I and III), the immune system tries to “slow down” the action of FeLV virus. If we start to strengthen the cat’s immune system already during these stages (which requires an early diagnosis), the result can generate a delay in the severe harmful effects that the virus causes when reaching the bone marrow, which allows a better survival to the animal.
- Response to treatment: If we succeed in strengthening the immune system of the sick cat and its response to treatments is positive, its life expectancy will be greater. For this, they are usually used certain drugs, holistic treatments and vitamins for cats with feline leukemia.
- State of health and preventive medicine: a vaccinated cat with daily deworming, which maintains a balanced diet, and is physically and mentally stimulated throughout its life, usually has a stronger immune system and better respond to the treatment of feline leukemia.
- Nutrition: the feeding of a cat directly influences their quality of life, mood and also in their immune system. Feline cats with leukemia require a diet reinforced in vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients that can be found in balanced feed range premium.
- Environment: cats that experience sedentary routines or that live in negative, stressful or little stimulating environments can suffer the damaging effects of stress on their immune system, becoming more vulnerable to numerous pathologies.
- Owner’s Commitment: the health and well-being of our pets always depend on our commitment. And this becomes even more crucial 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 a 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 specialist veterinarians, it is understandable that there are many fanciful ideas about leukemia in cats. To become better aware of this pathology, we invite you to learn some myths and truths.
Feline leukemia and blood cancer are synonymous: MYTH!
The Feline Leukemia Virus is actually a type of oncological virus (or oncovirus) that can cause tumors, but not all cats diagnosed with leukemia develop cancer in the blood. 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 easily get feline leukemia: TRUTH!
Unfortunately, cats can easily contract the Feline Leukemia Virus through direct contact with the bodily fluids of other infected cats. The FeLV usually stays mostly in the saliva of sick cats, but it can also be deposited in your urine, blood, milk and feces. For this reason, cats 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, as well as 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: TRUTH!
Unfortunately, a cure for feline leukemia is still unknown and it does not exist for feline AIDS either. Therefore, in both cases, prevention is key to preserve the health and welfare 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 infection 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, the life expectancy of a sick animal depends on several factors, such as the stage in which the pathology is diagnosed, the response of the animal 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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