Feline Leukemia Test Procedures

The feline leukemia is caused by the feline leukemia retro virus (FeLV) and is a severe disease that affects unvaccinated cats and may be a deadly disease. A feline leukemia test is available to detect the presence of the virus. The detection of the disease is essential, as the leukemia is highly contagious.

What Is Leukemia

Leukemia is a disease caused by a retrovirus known as the feline leukemia virus (FeLV).

The virus is transmitted through saliva and nasal discharges and the disease may be fatal in cats with a weak immune system or kittens.

The virus may also be transmitted through contaminated food bowl; the virus may survive 2 hours in a dry environment and over 2 days in a moist environment.

Feline Leukemia Symptoms

The feline leukemia virus will suppress the immune system and the cat will be more susceptible to different infections. The typical symptoms of the feline leukemia may include:

  • Lack of appetite, followed by weight loss
  • Frequent skin infections (bacterial and fungal)
  • Recurrent bladder and urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory infections
  • Stomatitis
  • Gingivitis
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Frequent skin lesions
  • Fever
  • Anemia
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Depression
  • Hiding behavior
  • Dull coat
  • Flaky skin, in advanced cases of leukemia
  • Seizures, in rare cases

Feline Leukemia Test Procedures

A cat may get infected with the feline leukemia virus if he comes in contact with other infected cats. However, not all cats that were exposed to the virus will get infected.

If you suspect that your cat has the virus or he displays some feline leukemia symptoms, you need to test your pet for leukemia.

Detecting leukemia can be done by performing a few clinical tests including a bone marrow test and a complete blood count cbc blood tests. The Feleuk tests also known as the FeLV tests should also be performed.

The FeLV test is a blood test that will show the presence of antigens that occur in the blood if the cat has contracted the virus. If the test is negative, the virus is not present.

The FeLV test may be performed through the ELISA (enzyme linked immunsorbent assay) or the IFA (immunofluorescent antibody test).

The ELISA test will be performed on blood and possibly saliva or tears. The ELISA may be performed on the spot, as it takes only 10 to 20 minutes, while the IFA test takes 1 to 2 days.

The IFA is a bone marrow test, but may also be performed on blood. In some cases, both tests will be performed and the IFA is performed to confirm the results of the ELISA test.

The FeLV test can be performed in all suspected cats with no contraindications.

However, if the tests show a positive for the feline leukemia virus, the cat mustn’t be euthanized, as the tests may be a false positive. The cat needs to repeat the tests in 3 months. Meanwhile, support therapy and isolation from other felines will be recommended.