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Who is at Risk?

The individuals most at risk of infection are outdoor cats, indoor/outdoor cats, and cats exposed to infected individuals. Cats living in households with FeLV-infected cats or with cats of unknown infection status are also at risk. Indoor-only cats with no exposure to potentially infected cats are extremely unlikely to become infected. The virus is particularly dangerous to kittens and young cats. Acquired immunity to FeLV is based on humoral and cell-mediated immune responses. Results of an experimental challenge study indicate that resistance increases with maturity. However, age-related resistance to infection is not absolute, and adult cats may be vulnerable to infection. In several studies involving experimental challenge of vaccinated and non-vaccinated control cats, at least 50% of adult control cats became infected.

AVMA, 2004; Harbour et al., 2000; Hartman, 2006; Hofmann et al., 1995; Levy, 2000; Poulet et al., 2003