I've never heard about 5 years being a time marker for FELV cats.  I've heard 
that kittens born with it will tend to have more 
trouble living long lives than cats/kittens that acquire it after birth.  All 
just stuff I've heard, of course, no proof.

I have had several FELV cats die at around  2.5 to 3 years of age.  I have 3 
FELV cats that are older than 3 years old now, not 
sure when they got it.  But one of them is 12-13 years old.  

At one point, I felt like daily interferon was a real help to young FELV cats 
less than 3 years old.  But then it seemed like if 
the schedule changed - doses had to be missed, etc - it was a big problem.  So 
now nobody's on interferon alpha, and partly 
because I'm so busy.  But everybody's doing well.  The last death I had was 
Oliver, who was 12-13-14 that age range.

I don't recall losing any FELV cats at 5 years of age, and have had quite a few 
FELV cats.

Now there are different types of FELV virus, so maybe that plays into it.

Hope this helps in some way.  


>------- Original Message -------
>From    : Avia Rauscher[mailto:a...@rauscher.com]
>Sent    : 1/26/2010 1:15:14 PM
>To      : felvtalk@felineleukemia.org
>Cc      : 
>Subject : RE: [Felvtalk] Advice please?
 >I've been a member here for a while, although I don't post much. I lost a 20 
 >month old cat (Cinder) to FeLV a year ago. We found 
out her status post-mortem and through subsequent testing of my other three 
cats found one of them (Onyx) to be FeLV+ as well 
(Elisa and IFA). The other two (Horus & Blackie) have been vaccinated, and will 
be re-tested soon. I did not separate them after 
learning that Onyx was + because - well, any of you who mix your +'s and -'s 
know why. 

Although there is no 100% sure way to know which cat gave the FeLV to the 
other, we are working on the assumption that Onyx had it 
to begin with and gave it to Cinder. Cinder was 9 weeks old when we adopted 
from ACC, and Onyx was about 20 months old at the 
time. I got Onyx from a pet store (lesson learned!) and she was in sad shape, 
only six weeks old, dehydrated, malnourished, and 
with coccidia. I couldn't return her to the people who allowed her to get into 
that condition (as suggested by the vet I used at 
the time), but for whatever reason, testing her for FeLV never came up. Cinder 
was tested at the shelter, and came back negative. 
Horus and Blackie both tested negative when they joined our family. At first I 
thought Cinder tested false negative because of her 
age, but in my many conversations with many, many people it seems more likely 
that Onyx had it from birth (or shortly after, she 
has never been exposed to FeLV other than with Cinder) and gave it to Cinder 
(they were very close as almost as soon as I brought 
Cinder home). Cinder developed a URI shortly after leaving the shelter, which 
Onyx caught, of course. Onyx had a much harder time 
beating the URI, part of which was due to a poorly prescribed antibiotic. I 
realize now that it may have been the FeLV that made 
it so hard for her to kick it.

So, Onyx is now four years and a couple of months old. She is healthy and 
active, and I have been so happy that she seems to be 
one of those cats who lives a long time with this virus. Until I spoke to a 
woman from a rescue group doing cat adoptions in a 
nearby pet store. Through conversation I told Onyx's story and this woman 
kindly (hah!) informed me that the life expectancy for a 
cat with FeLV in the bone marrow is five years, so while I'm lucky she's 
survived this long, I shouldn't expect Onyx to be around 
a whole lot longer.

Which brings me to the advice I would like: What are the chances of a cat who 
is FeLV+ from birth living past 5? I have been 
reading all the posts about LCTI, but I am not clear on whether you start when 
they develop symptoms or while they are still 
healthy. Does anyone here know if recurrent FLUTD is commonly seen in FeLV+ 
cats? Horus tested negative and was vaccinated, but 
he's lost two pounds in the last month (his appetite seems fine) and is in the 
middle of his third bout of FLUTD in as many 
months - he's also asthmatic. I am in panic mode right now. Should I re-test 
him early? Any advice anyone here can give me would 
be very much appreciated.

Avia Rauscher
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