COVID UPDATE – We are currently seeing essential appointments only whereas non-essential appointments may be delayed.
If mutually agreeable, subject to face coverings being worn, no clinical signs of COVID and the type of appointment, consultations will be carried out inside the building. In order to maintain social distance we have a maximum occupancy level policy and thank you for your patience whilst waiting. We kindly request only one member of the family attends and where possible aim to get for us at the correct time for your appointment to avoid ongoing delays.
Please be aware that as from 18th January due to altered working practices we intend on closing at 6pm for the foreseeable future and will keep this under review until current lock down rules change. Our full list of opening hours can be found here
For repeat medication requests, please order in advance as usual by telephoning us on 01458 832972 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be requested to pay prior to collection and our reception team will provide you with further instructions as appropriate.
If you are shielding or self-isolating and require repeat medication or veterinary advice please contact us on 01458 832972.
Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) is what is known as a retrovirus. Retroviruses are a group of viruses which are able to hide in the host body and lead to prolonged infection. This is because the viral DNA is inserted into the DNA profile of the host as part of their replication process.
The main transmission of FeLV is in saliva. Most infections are acquired by prolonged close contact – by mutual grooming and by sharing food and water dishes. However, the virus can also be passed on through bite wounds acquired by fighting.
Kittens are most vulnerable to infection, though adult cats can also be infected. This occurs particularly if their immune function is reduced, or they are in close contact with a cat that is shedding the virus.
When initially infected with FeLV, cats generally don’t appear unwell. After infection, the virus travels to the lymph nodes and multiplies. In some cats, this viral multiplication continues, the virus circulates in the blood and they become unwell some time later. These cats remain infectious.
In other cats, the virus appears to be cleared from the body after infection. However, in these cats the virus is actually hiding in the bone marrow (latent infection) and can be reactivated later in life.
Feline leukaemia virus can cause a variety of clinical syndromes. The most serious is, as the name suggests, the development of certain cancers of the white blood cells or lymphoid tissues (lymphoma). These tend to be aggressive and poorly responsive to chemotherapy. The virus can also cause anaemia (lack of red blood cells), immunosuppression or auto-immune disease.
FeLV infection can be very serious. The average survival after diagnosis is 2.4 years. However, we need to bear in mind that this figure comes from a mixture of unwell cats, and healthy cats that were diagnosed on routine screening (for example before breeding or rehoming). In some cases, especially in kittens, the course of disease is often more rapid. In cats that develop lymphoma or leukaemia, average survival times from diagnosis are between 2 and 6 months.
Vaccination against FeLV should be considered in all cats, especially young kittens – as they are most vulnerable to infection. Annual re-vaccination would be advised in cats that have outdoor access, or in multi-cat households.
There are no other reliable ways to prevent infection with FeLV. However, if a cat is diagnosed with FeLV on a screening test and is otherwise unwell, they should be kept indoors due to the risk of transmission to others.
MSD Veterinary Manual: Feline Leukaemia Virus and related diseases in cats
BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Infectious Diseases: The Haemopoietic and Lymphoreticular Systems.