If you have indoor cats who might venture outside when the weather’s nice, you probably think they’re protected from most feline disease. Unfortunately, it’s easier than you might think for them to be exposed to deadly viruses.
Both feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are contagious, untreatable illnesses. It’s believed that up to 4% of the cats in the U.S. have one or both viruses.
These viruses are primarily spread by bite wounds, although FeLV can also be transmitted through casual contact such as mutual grooming or even from shared litterboxes and food dishes.
FIV causes progressive destruction of a cat’s immune system and eventually animals show a variety of symptoms such as diarrhea, gum inflammation, weight loss, and skin and respiratory infections.
Cats suffering from FeLV will often be diagnosed with cancers such as lymphoma and leukemia or anemia first. It may take years before a cat with one of these viruses to become symptomatic, but during that time they can spread the disease to other felines.
Bottom line? All cats—whether they are indoor or outdoor—should be vaccinated against FIV and FeLV for their own protection and that of other cats. If you have questions about FIV or FeLV or want to book an appointment to get your pet vaccinated, call us at 503.360.9695.