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Kelly Hill
Kelly Hill, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 587
Experience:  full time veterinarian at Tender Touch Veterinary Hospital
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My boyfriend and I rescued a stray cat off the streets after

Customer Question

Hello! My boyfriend and I rescued a stray cat off the streets after he followed us into the house. He is super super sweet and was very skinny, so we chose to keep him. He was neutered yesterday and was given his shots, but we were devastated to find out he was FELV positive. He is assumed to be around 2 years old. We aren't going to euthanize him because he is not in pain, so were wondering what we can do to help him? What should we feed him? I heard diet is important. Also--he was given a rabies shot and an autoimmune shot, but now he has an egg-sized lump by his right hind-leg. It is sensitive, and we presume it is an adverse reaction to his rabies shot, and the vet from the low-cost clinic told us to put heat on it and wait it out. We're worried though.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else important you think the veterinarian should know about the stray stray?
Customer: The kitty shows very few signs that he has the leukemia. The vet said the only thing she noticed was he had a bit of yellowing on his teeth. Besides that and the lump, that's it. Thank you!
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 6 months ago.

Hi this is Dr. Hill. Please give me a moment to type my full response. Thank you

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Great, thank you.
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 6 months ago.

I am sorry to hear that he has feline leukemia. First let me say that it is not a death sentence. Some cats can have the disease and not show any signs and live a nice long life. What you need to do is make him an indoor only cat and feed him a quality diet. Cats are carnivores and do best on a meat based diet with minimal to no grains. I like Natural Balance Venison or Duck, EVO, Wellness and Planet Organics. There is a newer medication on the market that is now available for FELV positive kitties that is supposed to help support their immune system. I will add a link to information on it. For the focal vaccine reaction, you can do a cold compress since it was just recently given. You can also get some liquid plain benadryl and give him a dose at 1 mg per pound body weight to see if this helps with the swelling. You will need to get the children's liquid benadryl. You just want to make sure that it have no other active ingredients beyond diphenhydramine (benadryl). I am sure they probably told you this, but your kitty is very contagious to other cats, so you need to be a one cat household. Let me grab the info on the newer drug and post next.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you so much! Have you seen a cat get a large mass from a vaccine like that?
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 6 months ago.

Yes. It will typically go down over a few weeks. He does not have a normal immune system, so his vaccines should be limited to only rabies.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Okay great thank you. So if he is 9 lbs (just to clarify), give him 9 mg of the liquid benedryl? Should I just mix it with his food?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Do you recommend I buy him wet food or dry food from one of those brands?
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 6 months ago.

I would do a mix of both wet and dry. Yes, one mg of benadryl per one pound of body weight. Not mls, but mg's. The bottle will tell you how many mg per teaspoon (5mls). I am not finding the name of the newer medication, so I may have to get that information to you tomorrow. Sorry. I have the information at my work place.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
That is okay. Thank you!! Should i mix the benedryl in with his food?
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 6 months ago.

Yes try that first (wet food). Your welcome. Please ask any follow up questions. You can continue posting on this thread for a couple of days, even after rating my response. Take care

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thanks so much! I have another question--should i feed him twice a day? Do you have any other recommendations to keep him healthy? Would it be healthy to feed him people food? I read people feed their FELV positive cats steamed broccoli, kale, cooked salmon, etc.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
How long should I give him the benedryl for?
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 6 months ago.

Your welcome. So, no people food. The organic diet would be the healthiest. Cats need a complete and balanced diet and adding people food disrupts that balance. Definitely feed twice daily. If he tolerates the benadryl, then I would give it for 5 days.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Great, thanks so much!!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Any other advice to keep him healthy for as long as possible?
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 6 months ago.

Once he has had time to acclimate to your household, you should institute some at home dental care, either brushing his teeth or using an enzymatic gel. Dental disease can become a major issue in some of these kiddos.

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you!!!
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I will let you know if I have any other questions.
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 6 months ago.

Your welcome. Congrats on your new kitty!!

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thank you!
Expert:  Kelly Hill replied 6 months ago.

I will be off an on the computer over the next several days, so feel free to continue posting anything that pops up.