What are FeLV symptoms?
Symptomatic cats, the other 30 percent of exposed cats, receive the full force of
the infection and die in three months to three years. These cats are victims of three different conditions:
- First, FeLV causes various cancers by entering and changing body cells. Altered cells grow together to form tumors in different parts of the body. The tumors eventually will interrupt normal body function.
- The second condition occurs when the disease attacks the growing blood cells in the cat's bone marrow. Because the young blood cells are rendered useless, the cat's total number of blood cells decreases, causing anemia and slower clotting. The cat gradually will become less active until it has too little energy to do anything.
- The last and most devastating condition suffered by infected cats is the suppression of their immune systems. FeLV makes it difficult for cats to fight off infections that would normally be easily destroyed. Most infected cats die from secondary infections rather than tumors or anemia. The most common complications are pneumonia, stomach problems, chronic colds, and skin and mouth infections. FeLV also can cause pregnant cats to abort their litters.