You've come to the right place!  There are lots of folks on this board who
can give you some excellent suggestions.  They helped me get thru my panic
when my 3 year old Tucson suddenly tested positive after having tested neg
as a kitten.  She too was an indoor only cat and two vets I consulted both
felt that she had it from the start and that she was so young when first
tested, that the Elissa showed up neg.  

My other 3 cats had been exposed all along--they all shared bowls, litter
boxes, etc.  And two of them had come in as kittens after I had Tucson.  I
had them tested & they were neg.  I had them vaccinated.  That was 5 years
ago and everybody is still fine.  I never separated them.  In fact, I
brought in this wonderful 4 year old stray, Romeo, who I was feeding and he
turned out to be pos.  I lost him earlier this year to very quick acting
lymphoma but he was in good health up until the week before he died.  My
Tucson is 18 lbs and doing fine.

The only med problems I've had is that Romeo had terrible gums and
periodically would need antibiotics.  Tucson had a couple of episodes of
very low white blood count (that's what prompted my vet to test her).  She
received a series of immune regulin and bounced back.  She's a bit of a
clutz and managed to get a few more scrapes and cuts then the others.
Because of her pos status, I tend to take her to the vet a little more
quickly than I might the others.  Some folks give their pos Interferon but
given the temperament of Tucson and Romeo, I knew that it would be more
stressful for them.  I give everybody some decent foods (wellness canned).
Periodically, I try supplements but Tucson can get a bit fussy about
'strange' things in her food.  Basically, they all live like most indoor
cats--eat, sleep, MAYBE play a little, go to the box, and then start all

I've come to believe that this very ancient disease is nowhere near as
contagious as some vets tell you.  If it were, my three other cats would
have caught it in a flash. And because of some of the "timing" issues on
early testing, I suspect a lot more cats are pos but never diagnosed.  

But keep an eye on Becca's gums.  Remember that pos have much less
resistance to infections--I can't remember which antibiotics I used for
Romeo (he had lousy teeth and gums in part because he was on the street for
the 1st 4 years of his life)--maybe doxy???  But people will come on and be
a lot surer about that then me.  Some of the antibiotics can be tough for
the cat to swallow, and you can get the meds compounded into a more
palatable form.  My Tucson eats just about anything--LOL but pilling or
medicating Romeo was real, real tough.  

And make sure you have a good vet.  The vet who diagnosed my Tucson was
wonderful but he told right out that he had almost no experience w. FELV.  I
switched to another vet who is the vet for a local woman who does some FELV
rescues....  He's very laid back, doesn't push too many treatments, and all
in all was very reassuring when I was in my initial panic.  He never batted
an eyelash when I told him I wanted to keep everybody mixed like they had

So hang in there...  it gets a bit scary some time.  Everyone has to make
the decisions that are right for them but I have no problems telling anyone
that I've never regretted keeping everybody mixed and have always been
grateful that I had two vets who didn't push me to euthanize because of pos

Christiane Biagi

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Iva Lark Emily
Sent: Monday, August 03, 2009 12:51 AM
Subject: [Felvtalk] Introduction - Rebecca

My 2 year old cat Rebecca (Becca) was diagnosed with FeLV on Friday. A brief
history: I adopted Becca, along with another kitty Katherine, from PetSmart
when they were a few months old. They had both been tested FeLV negative.
But I did notice that a week after I brought them home Becca developed large
lymph nodes around her neck that disappeared in a few weeks. I thought
nothing of it and thought maybe she was fighting something off. They both
came home with ringworm so the vet and I assumed Becca was just reacting to
it pretty badly. 
Almost a year later I adopted two kittens (Kiera and Casanova) from my
neighbor, both FeLV negative. Shortly after I brought them home and around
the time they both got spayed/neutered at the SPCA one of them
(Kiera) developed the same swollen lymph nodes. Well, a few months ago Kiera
was diagnosed with FeLV and was in the end stages. She was only 11 months
old. I had no choice but to put her to sleep. By the time she was diagnosed
she already had several large tumors in her body, had stopped eating, and
one of the tumors was blocking her intestines. There was no hope for her. It
was extremely hard to take as she was the only furbaby I had really bonded
with at that point.
Well the vet said to wait a few months and test my remaining kitties. We
still have no idea how they got it, but I wonder if it happened at PetSmart
or the SPCA?  They are all indoor cats and have never been exposed to other
kitties outside of those two experiences. Anyway, we tested my three
remaining cats and one was positive. She has no symptoms aside from some bad
gum inflammation. She's fairly healthy and extremely active. The vet
recommended I put her to sleep to protect the other cats. I initially agreed
and the appt is scheduled for tomorrow. However, after researching and
looking around it appears that 1. If the other cats haven't caught it by now
chances are they might not. The sick kitty is 2 years old, the healthy
kitties are 2 years old and 15 months old. 2. I had the healthy kitties
vaccinated against FeLV on the vet's recommendation and think that after
they get their boosters the odds might be even slimmer of them getting
infected. For
 now I have isolated Becca to my master bedroom/bathroom. I was planning on
releasing her in three weeks after the other two kitties get their booster
Am I making the right call? If I put Becca to sleep and the others
eventually test positve then I will be crushed! But I don't want to continue
to risk them either. It looks like based on my research it is rare for adult
cats to get FeLV, and if they have already been exposed for so long (over a
year) and are currently negative then aren't the odds good? I have to call
the vet tomorrow to cancel the euthanasia and ask for some antibiotics
instead, and I want to have some good reasons to give her for my change of
heart, along with some good documentation she can research. I figure I can
always use the next three weeks to think the decision through but if I put
her down I can't take it back.  I don't know how much longer I'd have with
her... but doing this when she is so healthy just doesn't sit with me. 
I should add, I got these four kitties to replace my last kitty, who died
from Renal Failure. He was given a few months to live and lived for three
years under my care. I'm not afraid of a little work if it means quality of
life for her and more time together with minimal risk to my other angels.
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