Feline leukemia is a viral disease in cats caused by the Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV). It is life-threatening and one of the most common cat diseases. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) directly affects the immune system of the cat and weakens it. Due to this, the cat becomes susceptible to feline leukemia and all other immunodeficiency diseases.
Feline leukemia is highly contagious and can easily spread through close contact of any kind. Though, one should note that the contagion takes place only between cats, and never in between cats and human beings. Although the disease can be controlled if diagnosed at an early stage, there is no permanent cure for it. Vaccination is considered as the best alternative to prevent the disease.
An Overview on Feline Leukemia Vaccine
Feline vaccinations are medications or immunogens given to cats to improve immunity and prevent diseases. As feline leukemia is spread through close contact, there is a high risk of contracting the disease in cats that are groomed together or live in a multi-kitten household. Similarly, cats that spend most of the time outdoors are also more susceptible to the disease. Previously, all cat owners were recommended to have their cats vaccinated as there were no known reactions related to this vaccine. But, recent studies have shown the possibility of certain negative reactions in cats on taking feline leukemia vaccine.
One should know that the cat may feel a bit off-color or ill for 24 hours after the vaccination. As the vaccine is given in the rear leg of the cat, it tends to limp for a day or two. The other potential side effects include:
- Tenderness in injection site
- Swelling in injection site
- Loss of appetite
Along with these, there are also other negative reactions like irritability, grumpiness, sleepiness, and depressed feeling, observed. The cat may even dislike being touched and petted. These symptoms are universally experienced by nearly all cats.
As cats are injected in the leg, a lump appears on the injection site. The lump remains there for 2 - 3 weeks and later disappears on its own. If it remains for a longer time or if its size increases, you need to bring it to the notice of the vet as early as possible. Sometimes, these may be abscesses caused due to an infection or contamination.
Apart from these, Fibrosarcoma is one of the rarest feline leukemia side effects. Fibrosarcoma is a lethal form of cancer which is typically caused due to vaccines in cats. It is deadly as it spreads very quickly and is not treated easily. If a non-painful lump appears at the site of injection and remains for a few days, you should immediately take your pet to the vet. This can be a warning sign of possibility of cancer.
Although there are several side effects, vaccination is still the best method for prevention of this disease. Remember, treating side effects is a lot easier than treating the disease.