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Feline Leukemia Virus

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is the leading viral killer of cats. It belongs to a group of RNA viruses called retroviruses. Outdoor cats and cats with frequent exposure to FeLV are at high risk of infection. This virus is also particularly dangerous to young cats and kittens. FeLV is transmitted through the saliva primarily, but can also infect cats through bite wounds, sharing of food and litter boxes, and vertical transmission from a mother to her young. Some cats may show no symptoms while others may develop tumors and succumb to death. To date, no reliable treatment exists and the prognosis for most clinically infected cats is poor. In North America, the prevalence is less than 5%. In a 2009 German study, the prevalence of feline leukemia virus was 3.6% in the cat population sampled.

AVMA, 2004; Gleich et al., 2009; Levy et al., 2006

Kate Boddington & Krissia Menjivar 2010