Feline Leukemia Vaccine in Frederick, Maryland

You work hard to keep your cat safe from harm. However, the risk of infection caused by a virus is too hard to fight on your own. That’s why vets recommend vaccines, such as the feline leukemia vaccine. Old Farm Veterinary Hospital offers this vaccine and many others in Frederick, Maryland. 

What is Feline Leukemia?

Feline leukemia, or FeLV, is a virus that only affects cats. It suppresses the immune system, making your pet vulnerable to other diseases, including anemia and lymphoma. 

There is no cure to remove the virus from the system, which means infected pets stay infected for life. This is why it’s imperative to prevent the infection through vaccination.

The side effects of FeLV may vary. Infected cats can be asymptomatic carriers for many years, and in fact, some pets may live normal life spans. Other cats can have higher mortality rates two or three years after showing symptoms. 

Symptoms include:

  • Discolored gums and eyes
  • Infections of the bladder, skin, or upper respiratory tract
  • Weight loss and loss of appetite
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Stomatitis (Oral inflammation)

A vet can diagnose FeLV through a blood test. 

How Does Feline Leukemia Spread?

Feline Leukemia is spread through bodily fluids, such as saliva, blood, and nasal secretions. It can only be transmitted between cats. The virus cannot survive for long outside of the body, which means the risk of infection through shared surfaces is low. 

Fighting and social grooming are the most common ways the disease is spread. In addition, kittens can be infected from their mothers in utero.

Kittens considered at-risk may receive the initial vaccine at 8 – 12 weeks old, and a second dose is normally given 3-4 weeks later. An annual booster vaccination is generally recommended. The vaccine will not protect cats that are already infected with FeLV. Before vaccinating an at-risk adult, they should be tested to ensure they are not already infected. 

Does My Cat Need The Feline Leukemia Vaccine?

The Feline Leukemia vaccine is a non-core vaccine. This means that the need for vaccination is dictated by geographical location, lifestyle, and exposure risk. We highly recommend the vaccine for at-risk cats, however, your vet can provide more personalized advice. 

If your cat stays indoors and does not interact with cats outside of the household, their risk is lower. On the other hand, outdoor cats and social butterflies will be at higher risk. This also includes cats who frequent boarding or grooming facilities. 

Feline Leukemia Vaccine For Cats in Frederick, Maryland

Feline leukemia is a common cause of premature death in cats. However, infection rates have steadily dropped in recent years. Experts credit the vaccine, as well as general awareness, for this decline. 

In order to keep your cats healthy and happy, bring them to Old Farm Veterinary Hospital. In addition to the feline leukemia vaccine, we also offer wellness exams and diagnostic testing for cats in Frederick, Maryland.

Call now to schedule an appointment!