If I don’t get my cat vaccinated, what are its natural defenses against the virus?

According to the literature, neonatal kittens are 100% susceptible to catching the virus from one exposure. 8-week-old weanlings are 85% susceptible from one exposure. There is serious debate over the likelihood of non-vaccinated, healthy adult cats becoming infected with the virus but it seems that ~40% of cats exposed become immune, ~30 percent become persistentlyContinue reading If I don’t get my cat vaccinated, what are its natural defenses against the virus?

Is there a vaccine?

Yes, there are several commercial vaccines available. Unfortunately the USDA does not have standard requirements for FeLV vaccines, so different manufacturers can publish ‘Effectiveness Ratings’ which cannot be compared with each other due to a lack of uniformity in testing terms and requirements. Estimating the effectiveness of the vaccines is difficult and most vets I’veContinue reading Is there a vaccine?

How is it transmitted?

FeLV is transmitted via saliva, mucus, urine, feces and blood. This means mutual grooming and biting/fighting are the most likely methods of transmission, although sneezing, hissing, sharing food/water bowls and sharing litter boxes are also possible means of transmission.

What is a retrovirus?

Retroviruses carry with them an enzyme that causes a process to occur in the DNA known as “reverse transcription.” RNA normally pairs up with DNA, copies itself, and thus increases/replicates itself. When an RNA retrovirus does this, it fools the DNA to copy *it*, instead of the normal RNA, thus causing even more of theContinue reading What is a retrovirus?