Many people think these cat diseases are the same thing. Although they share some commonalities, they are different diseases. FeLV is Feline Leukemia Virus and FIV is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. They are both are retroviruses, infectious, and can cause long term health issues for infected cats. It’s estimated that between 2-4% of cats are infected with one or both of these viruses. That number sounds small, but that means about 83 million cats.
FIV is typically a slow-moving virus with a long incubation period. Most cats with FIV lead relatively normal lives, however, the virus will eventually weaken their immune system and make them susceptible to secondary infections. Transmission of FIV is difficult to spread between cats.
FeLV is the more serious of the two. It can cause anemia or cancers because it suppresses their immune systems. Interestingly, some cats that are exposed to the virus are able to resist infection and they do fine.
Signs of either of these diseases are fever, lethargy, respiratory infections, dental issues, anemia, poor coat condition, and poor healing. To know for sure, you’ll need to visit your vet and they will perform tests to determine if your cat is infected. Neither disease is curable but many cats will have years of good health. Neither of these diseases can be transmitted to humans or other animals. FeLV is more easily transmitted between cats, so it’s better for a cat with it to live alone or with other cats that also have Felv.
If your cat is infected with either of these diseases, take a deep breath, because your cat will have a perfectly happy life.
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