Treatment for FeLV

There is no cure for FeLV. All treatments, including the following, are aimed at relieving pain and discomfort:

  • Antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections
  • Blood transfusions
  • Chemotherapy to treat tumors
  • Dietary supplements
  • Immunomodulatory drugs (e.g., drugs that target the immune system), such as interferon, immunoregulin, and acemannan

The United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) has granted a conditional product license for lymphocyte T-cell immune modulator (LTCI) to treat associated symptoms in cats with feline leukemia virus and/or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

This drug is administered as an injection in three initial doses. The second dose usually is given 7 days after the first dose, and the third dose is given 14 days after the first dose. Monthly injections may be administered as needed. During treatment, blood tests are performed regularly to monitor lymphocyte and red blood cell levels. Long-term effects of this treatment have not yet been determined.

FeLV Prognosis

The prognosis varies considerably. About 70 percent of cats that are infected with FeLV develop immunity and are able to fight the virus before developing symptoms. These cats usually live a normal life.

Some cats that develop initial immunity suffer a viremic breakout months or years later, usually after being stressed or medicated with drugs that suppress the immune system.

Thirty percent of FeLV-infected cats that don't develop immunity to the virus are persistently viremic. These cats may live months or years, depending on how far the disease has progressed when the cat is diagnosed. More than 50 percent of these cats die within a couple of years.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at Healthcommunities.com

Published: 01 Mar 2001

Last Modified: 16 Dec 2014