Feline Leukemia is a retrovirus. All retroviruses produce an enzyme, reverse transcriptase, which allows the virus to enter the genetic material of the affected cells. The disease is found worldwide. It's prevalence depends on the cats age, overall health, lifestyle and environment. In the U.S. 2-3% of cats will become infected with the illness. The source of the disease is another infected cat. The condition is spread by saliva, nasal mucous, urine, feces or milk if a cat is nursing. It is usually not spread by sharing a litter box or using the same dishes. It is typically spread through biting in play or fighting.
Feline Leukemia decreases a cats immunity to other infections. This is the major problem with condition. So a cat with the illness may have major problems from exposure to secondary infections, whereas a healthy cat's immune system would fight these off.
A blood test will be done by your vet to determine whether or not your cat has the condition. There are two different types of blood tests. One is an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The other is an indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay. Your vet will decide which one to do.
Treatment may involve prescription medication. Once your vet has the test results back, he/she will decide what the best medication is for your cat. Some of the medications that are typically used are ImmunoRoglin, Acemannan, Interferon, Alpha, Lymphocyte T-Cell Immune Modulator, and Paypermun.
f your cat was just diagnosed with leukemia you should house it away from cats that do not have the illness. Stress and exposure to other diseases and infections are very debilitating to a cat with FeLV. Keep the cat indoors and in a low-stress environment. You can use nutrition as a way to strengthen your cats immume system. Look at the natural cat food recipes on this site for idesa.
You should discuss whether or not to vaccinate your cat against leukemia. Many conventional vets recommend the vaccine, while holistic vets do not. They feel that the vaccine may put your cat at risk of other illnesses. Some believe the it can lead to other types of cancer. If you cat lives indoors, you may not need to worry as much about leukemia. Just don't let your cat come in contact with other cats for any reason.