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Dr.Fiona
Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
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Our Cat is a male and is ampx 3.5 yrs old and has been identified

Customer Question

Our Cat is a male and is ampx 3.5 yrs old and has been identified as Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Recently tover the past two weeks he has been getting fatigued. Blood work up indicates his RBC is 12, no other systems are affected, and serium is clear. Do you know if giving him a blood tranfusion and isd really the best short term answer or is the treatement with Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator (LTCI) from Imulan better?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
Hi thereCustomer

Welcome to Just Answer! I am sorry to hear that your cat is so sick, and would like to try to help you. In order to better assist you, I need a bit more information.

Has he been diagnosed with FeLV, FIV, or both?

How long ago was he diagnosed?

Fiona
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hello Dr.

 

He was diagnose as FeLV via the ELSA test. We did notice that he was attemping to lick the small rock out of the large planter; no parasites were found in blood work up.

 

If you would like to speak over the phone our no is XXX-XXX-XXXX or if you want me to call you then that is ok too.

 

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
I'm so sorry that I am not allowed to talk over the phone - prohibited by my terms of service and the operating system censors phone numbers (just show up as XXX).

So, 2 years ago he had an ELISA test that showed up positive for FeLV. Was he tested just once? Was he tested for FIV, too?

And now he is in hospital with a red cell count of 12?

Have I got that right?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

 

Understand on phone. He is not in hospital, but at home and I beleve he was tested for FIV but was neg.

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
Ok - thanks for that information!

I need a few minutes to write up a detailed answer for you and will be back as soon as possible...
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Understand and thank you for your quick reponse. !!

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
Hi againCustomer

Thanks for your patience!

There are 2 things I want to talk about with you - FeLV itself, and then treatment options.

1. Let’s start with Feline leukemia…

Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a devastating virus for which there is no cure once cats are exposed. Transmission occurs through infected saliva; bites by or sharing bowls with infected cats may infect other cats within the household.


Symptoms are numerous including fever, frequent infections, weight loss, depression, decreased appetite, and swollen lymph nodes. Prevalence of the disease is worldwide with locally high numbers of incidence possible in infected groups of feral cats.


Blood tests can identify infection… but there are different kinds of infections! When you or I get sick with the flu what happens is: healthy --> sick -->mount immune response --> healthy.

Unfortunately, it is not that simple with FeLV! Instead of the two possibilities (healthy or sick), there are four possible outcomes for cats with FeLV.

OUTCOME 1:   IMMUNITY (40% of cats). The cat may be sick for a few days, but then recovers.

OUTCOME 2: INFECTION (30% of cats)– The cat is sick, seems to get better, but the virus is still there, and in weeks to years the cat gets sick again and dies.

OUTCOME 3: LATENCY (28% of cats) The cat has FeLV in the body but it is hard to detect as it hides in the cells, and may lead to cancer. This can only be detected by a special test called PCR.

OUTCOME 4: IMMUNE CARRIER (1-2% of cats) - The cat has FeLV, but is not affected by it, BUT can still pass it on to other cats.

So, I am not sure which category your cat falls in to, but given that he tested positive 2 years ago and is now showing signs of bone marrow suppression (affected his red blood cell lines), it sounds like he has Outcome 2: infection.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Feline Leukemia and the only thing we can do is provide supportive care, giving antibiotics for bacterial infections and treating the symptoms. Here are websites with more information:

•     http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/felv.html
•     http://www.dr-dan.com/feline1.htm
•     http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/felv.html
•     http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proceedings.plx?CID=WSAVA2003&PID=6544&O=Generic


2. Now, in terms of treatment...

A red blood cell count of 12 is dangerously low. At this level, I would expect the patient to have low energy and low appetite. It really cannot fall any lower as this is not compatible with life. Feline leukemia can affect the bone marrow and cause low white cell count (leukemia) or low red cell count (anemia) or both. From what you are telling me, it is affecting your cat's red blood cells and causing anemia.

So, about a blood transfusion versus using Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator (LTCI) from Imulan. That's easy: the blood transfusion, no contest!

Imulan (http://www.imulan.com) is a brand name for a lymphocyte T-cell immunomodulator product. The manufacturer is T-Cyte Therapeutics:
http://www.tcyte.com/

I've seen the advertising but there is very little information available on the product.

"Cat Fancy" had a short article for this product. Here is the article:

"New Immune Therapy: T-Cyte Therapeutics, a subsidiary of California-based S-cell Biosciences, announced a conditional license to manufacture and distribute Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator and market the product as an aid to treat feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus.

According to the company, this marks a major step in the development of the company's stromal cell-based cytokine platform technology to treat cancer, immunodeficiency and autoimmune disease. Ask your veterinarian for further information."

When I made an inquiry to the company, they said they have no data on efficacy or safety to release at this time, but hope to release the results of clinical trials in the near future. If you read the fine print on the website, it says "Additional efficacy and potency studies are in progress."

So, this company has made an end-run around vets and has made a product that they are marketing directly to the public, preying upon people looking for any solution to help their cat diagnosed with this problem. I have not used the product myself, but have done an exhaustive search on www.vin.com where vets around the world can consult with other vets. Many vets HAVE tried it and not even one had anything positive to say. I'm sorry!

Now, about the transfusion...if I have done repeat testing, and know for sure that a particular patient has feline leukemia and is anemic, I would not always recommend blood transfusions. The positive effects of a blood transfusion would only last a couple of weeks.

Thus, transfusions are very helpful if I am trying to buy time to fix a problem (such a bleeding internally from being hit by a car - if I can stop that, then the cat can recover). But I cannot fix feline leukemia. So a transfusion just puts a second cat at risk from donating blood, and is only going to give the FeLV positive cat a couple of more weeks...

A blood transfusion would absolutely make your cat feel better! It is amazing - fast, and fabulous results, but they don't last for long, unfortunately. You could do the transfusion and then try the Imulan product, but I am not confident that you would have success with it. It does not seem to do any harm...

So, I hope that answers your question?

If this has been helpful, please "accept" my answer and leave feedback.

If you need more information, just click on reply and I will still be here to provide it.


The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.

Good luck with your cat!


Fiona






Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you you have been very helpful! Laughing

 

VCA Berwin Aninimal Hosp, Illinois just called back, and we spoke with the Dr., from there, we are going to go ahead with the blood transfusion with a follow up of this drug when it is available.

 

Here's hoping and praying for a miracle from God!!

 

Thank you again!

Rich & Sue Franklin

Chicago

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
Rich and Sue,

My hopes and prayers will be with you all. The blood transfusion will definitely make him feel better! Make him some of his favourite foods because he will probably be hungry after the transfusion and may eat well for the first time in weeks.

My thoughts are with you all!

I would love to hear an update on how things go. You can update me here on this thread at any time, even if you click on Accept. That in no way closes the thread. I would really like to know how he does!

Best wishes, Fiona
Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience: 16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
Dr.Fiona and 4 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

We found a drug called Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator (LTCI) from IMULAN BioTherapeutics, the first and only conditionally approved treatment aid in the United States for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV or Feline AIDS) infections to give to him starting this weekend. Cost is anywhere from $25-190 depending upon from where you order it out of.

 

Blood transfusion went well and now er can only hope the drug does what it was designed to do.

 

Thank you again for your advice.

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 5 years ago.
I'm so glad the transfusion went well! Please let me know how things go with the Imulan LTCI treatment! I would be so excited if it works well as this would open up treatment to hundreds of cats!
Best wishes,
Fiona
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Will do and thanks again for your help.

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