Have Cat Questions? Ask a Cat Vet Online.
Hello, thanks for your question. My name is ***** ***** I have spent the last 15 years in veterinary medicine. I also run a non-profit animal rescue and we take in both FIV and FeLV cats, as well as double positives.
A great number of FeLV cats will benefit from regular labwork to monitor anemia. You want to know right off if you're dealing with kidney problems and related anemia or that of just FeLV. Those who are positive for FeLV tend to have their hematocrit slowly go downhill over time. We often use prednisone and doxycycline to treat this as the anemia is often an immune mediated affliction and we use doxycycline to treat for Mycoplasma haemofelis (in the event that it's part of the problem). Many veterinarians recommend coupling this treatment with a canned food, lower carbohydrate diet and the use of transfusion as needed. Anemia can be regenerative or non-regenerative and FeLV cats often suffer the non-regenerative type which means treatment is likely just buying them time. Since there is no treatment for FeLV, we have to treat their symptoms as they come along. Along side FeLV, kidney disease is also to blame for many anemia case so this is another reason for labwork to be run. Erythropoetin has shown some benefits in cats with regenerative anemia, but efficacy tends to slow after the first few weeks of treatment and the medication can be expensive. Another medicine to look into is Interferon. It's not often used, but I've seen some cats benefit from its usage. In most of these cases, we're still just buying the cat time; the inevitable is coming.I'm not sure what "DNA" test was run, but I want you to have the info in case it was not the IFA. In cases where in-house ELISA test show negative or low positive, we recommend running the IFA to be sure of what is happening. Many veterinarians feel it's worth testing the bone marrow vs. blood to obtain a more accurate determination on the status of disease in an afflicted cat. This may be what has already been done: https://www.vetinfo.com/immunofluorescence-assay-testing.htmlAs you've found there are a good number of online resources where people share their experiences with maintaining a FeLV cat. One thing I would mention is that a feline leukemia vaccine exists which may prevent your other cats from acquiring what Marmalade already has. It would be more useful to vaccinate the negative cats and hope for the best than to avoid vaccinating at all and continue to have FeLV cats. If you wish to eventually stop having to battle this issue, you may also have to stop adding cats to the home who aren't vaccinated against feline leukemia so that eventually you can bring in cats who don't have and won't obtain the affliction. Of course, indoor cats have the highest chance of this happening.If my response has helped you, kindly leave me a positive rating. If not, reply and I will assist you further. You will still be able to reach me once you've left a rating.