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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19778
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)
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My 1-1'2 yr old. haired cat has recently tested positive.

Customer Question

My 1-1'2 yr old. long haired cat has recently tested positive for lukemia. She has sores on her ears and the front of her head. Is this caused by the lukemia? They are treating her for flea allergy and they are not clearing up. She still is scratching and keeping the sores open. What can I do. How do I know if the test was true or it is something else.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 1 year ago.

Hello. Thanks for the question.

In a cat this age, the test is likely going to be a true positive. I would still want to re-test in 4-6 months. That gives the body time to react to and clear the virus if she was recently infected. There is a decent percentage of cats that can clear the infection from their body. If it's there for 6 months and we have 2 positive tests, then that confirms the presence of chronic Leukemia virus.

Leukemia is not a death sentence. Cats can live with the virus. They have a shortened life span, but many will still live to 8-10 years of age. They just tend to develop cancers or active leukemia more frequently than normal cats. They should also ideally be in one cat households.

For the flea allergy signs, you just need to continue flea preventative, Benadryl as needed and steroids as needed. I usually tell people to give it 2-3 months before a flea issue is completely cured. It doesn't happen overnight, and it doesn't resolve overnight. It takes time.

I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Dr. Gary