Hi, I am new to the list and just learning about FELK.  I lost my four year old 
cat, Daisy to leukemia in December and then found out that one of my five cats 
tested positive for the virus shortly after. 

When my diabetic/renal cat was inappetent, I busted out pieces of a plain 
McDonald's hamburger, lunchmeat, cheese, tuna, any smelly cat food. fish 
flakes, sprinkled Fortiflora on the food, plain meat baby food and also tried 
boiled chicken.  

I am so sorry that you are dealing with all of this.

Best of luck.


-----Original Message-----
From: Anna Waltman <anna.walt...@gmail.com>
To: felvtalk <felvtalk@felineleukemia.org>
Sent: Sat, Apr 21, 2012 10:26 am
Subject: [Felvtalk] sick FLV+ kitty, worried owner

Dear all,
I've been a member of this list since 2009, when Sylvia, the older of my two 
(strictly indoor-only) cats, was first diagnosed with FLV (she'd tested 
negative twice as a kitten, then at just over a year old came up positive on 
both the snap and IFA tests). We have a great vet, and she's been a happy, 
healthy, fat, and sassy calico cat for most of her life. I haven't been very 
active on this list in the last year or so because Sylvia has been so healthy, 
apart from a case of gingivitis that our vet and I were monitoring carefully. 
She's about four years old now, and was originally a stray kitten in an urban 
area. I adopted her from an ASPCA in New Jersey. The vet thinks she got the 
virus from her mama and it was dormant in her system until the stress of moving 
from NJ to MA caused it to turn active. 

Unfortunately, her run of good health seems to be over. Toward the end of 
March, she started having diarrhea and seemed lethargic, so I took her to the 
vet, who said she didn't have a fever, but gave her a shot of systemic 
antibiotics and some subcutaneous fluids anyway. Her energy levels rose and the 
diarrhea resolved itself. However, Sylvia's energy levels took a nosedive again 
this past week, and she's been totally lethargic. She started hiding in my 
roommate's closet and spent an entire night in there on Wednesday. She's been 
refusing to play with my other cat, Beatrice, and hissed last time Beatrice 
tried to convince her to play chase (not normal at all-- these two have always 
been good buddies and playmates). 

Yesterday, we went back to the vet. This time, she did have a high fever (105) 
and the vet did blood work, which showed anemia and a high white blood cell 
count. The vet said all signs point to infection and suggested antibiotics and 
fluids, but she also wanted to do x-rays to check for tumors...then she also 
said that even if a tumor showed itself, there would be no treatment options 
and we'd have to discuss euthanasia. I opted against the x-rays as I'm on a 
limited budget and couldn't really see the point if the tests wouldn't lead to 
treatment. We decided to do another round of the injected systemic antibiotics 
and sub-Q fluids, and the vet also gave me an oral antibiotic to dose Sylvia 
with once a day. I'm going to purchase a thermometer so I can monitor her 
temperature daily, as well. I'm under strict instructions to bring her back in 
if her temp rises or stays where it is. We go back on Wednesday for another 
round of blood work, to see if the anemia and white blood cell count are 
improving or getting worse.

I'm a mess. I'm so worried; I broke down crying in the vet's office yesterday 
before the vet even came in to see Sylvia. And poor Sylvia has been hiding 
under my bed since we got home yesterday. She's not interested in cuddles or 
attention (which is not even a little normal for her-- most of the time, she'd 
spend her whole evening curled up on my lap if given the chance). She'll come 
out to eat (she's still interested in treats) and get a drink of water, and 
then she goes right back under the bed to sleep. I realize that this is 
instinct...when animals are very sick they have to hide to protect themselves 
from predators...but she's never been so adamant about being out of sight 
before this week. 

Have any of you dealt with this in a FLV+ cat before? Any advice for how to 
cope? Is there some other remedy I should be giving her (Lysine, pet-tinic, 
etc) in addition to the antibiotics while she's sick to bolster her immune 
system? She eats high-quality food to begin with (Wellness CORE and 
occasionally Wellness wet food). Also...how do I know when her quality of life 
has deteriorated to the point that euthanasia is something to consider? She's 
not herself now, that's for sure, but she doesn't seem to be in pain, either. 
When she's been in pain in the past because of her mouth/gums, she's been quite 
vocal about it. I just don't want her to suffer needlessly.

This has been breaking my heart. Sylvia is my first cat as an adult (I'm 25 and 
in grad school); she's outlived two serious relationships, the whole of my 
Master's degree work, and a major move. I'm more attached to her than I've ever 
been to an animal. When she was diagnosed with FLV I was devastated and wracked 
with guilt, since I'd recently adopted a kitten into our household thinking 
Sylvia was totally healthy. (Luckily, the kitten, Beatrice, has remained 
negative-- she gets retested and vaccinated annually-- and has grown into an 
active and healthy indoor cat.)

Those of you with more experience owning FLV+ cats: any help or advice you can 
offer would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance!
All the best,
Anna, Sylvia, and Beatrice

Anna E. Waltman
PhD student & Teaching Associate
Department of English and American Literature
University of Massachusetts, Amherst

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