Feline Leukemia Treatment

A cat that is infected with the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) should not necessarily be euthanized. Feline Leukemia Treatment There are some options that pet owners can consider for feline leukemia treatment. They develop the same diseases that affect non-infected cats and can respond favorably to treatment.  However, whether or not a cat is FeLV infected should be determined, as it does impact the treatment of the particular disease condition and long-term survival.  A cat infected with the FeLV virus has the potential of infecting other cats.   As a result, FeLV infected cats should not be kept in a multi-cat household with non-infected cats or allowed to go outside due to the potential to infect other cats.

Treatment of secondary diseases that occur due to FeLV infection

FeLV positive cats are susceptible to the same diseases that non-FeLV infected cats and the illness might not be directly related to the FeLV infection.  Secondary diseases caused by the virus are treated in the same fashion as the disease is treated in non-FeLV infected cats.  Secondary infections in FeLV infected cats may require more intensive and prolonged therapy than in non-FeLV infected cats.  Although persistent FeLV infection is associated with a decreased life expectancy, many cats can live for long periods of time and respond favorably to treatment of concurrent illnesses.

Anti-viral feline leukemia treatment

A number of treatments exist that are directed toward the virus itself.  The effectiveness of manyAnti-viral feline leukemia treatment of these antiviral drug treatments is largely unproven.  One drug listed in the following format (brand name, manufacturer) that has been shown to be effective is AZT/Zidovudine (Retrovir, Galaxo-Wellcome).  It is the most widely used drug to treat retroviral infections in people and cats.  It inhibits reverse transcriptase enzyme, preventing conversion of the viral RNA into DNA, which is how FeLV enters the cat’s body and causes disease.  Another drug that has some temporary benefit is Interferon alfa (Intron A, Schering Plough) or (Roveron, Hoffman LaRoche).  It has antiviral activity by preventing final viral assembly and budding.  It can reduce FeLV p27 antigen in the blood of infected cats.  However, antibodies produced by the cat to the interferon alfa results in decreased effectiveness within 1-2 months.

Feline leukemia treatment by stimulation of the immune system

A number of treatments for FeLV infected cats exist that are designed to stimulate the immune system and goes by the term immune modulator therapy. This approach attempts to restore decreased immune function caused by the FeLV virus.  The benefit of this approach is largely unproven and uncertain.  Treatments that fall into this category of treatment include Acemannan (Carrisyn, Carrington Laboratories), Propionbacteriumacnes (ImmunoRegulin, ImmunoVet), and Staphylococcus Protein A (SPA, Sigma), and PIND-ORF (Baypamun, Bayer).  The goal of these type of treatments are to stimulate immune function allowing the cat to decrease the amount of virus and increase survival time and improve general health.  Use of immune modulatory therapy should be considered very cautiously.  There is no conclusive evidence from controlled studies that this approach has any beneficial effects on health or survival of FeLV infected cats.

 

 

Title Tag:  Feline leukemia virus | feline leukemia virus treatment in cats

 

The article also discusses specific treatment approaches of FeLV infected cats with antiviral drugs and immune modulating drugs.

 

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Dr Stephen Atwater

Stephen W. Atwater, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVIM (oncology) is a board-certified veterinary oncology specialist. His professional interests include utilizing emerging therapies for difficult to treat cancers.

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