The tongue ulcers could be due to the virus. I know that FIV/FeLV infected cats are notorious for getting tongue ulcers. Charley has been on steroids for three years (come the 23rd of Jan) and her side effects are only recent. But, reducing the tumor surely has priority over the more minor side effects I am sure. I am sorry to hear Kato is having trouble eating. Is it mechanical? Are his lymph nodes so swollen it impedes swallowing or are there sores in his mouth that make eating painful? Is he on some sort of antibiotic and / or appetite stimulant? You could speak with your vet about a feeding tube. I am not sure it is warranted in this case, however, cats with fatty liver disease have been treated quite successfully with feeding tubes (several liver issues cause nausea). Our vet charges around $150 to put one in and you simply have to warm the food and put it through the tube with a syringe. Some people think it is a heroic effort and do not wish to try, but it has saved many cats. My friend's cat is diabetic and became anorexic and refused to eat. She had a feeding tube put in for a month and the cat completely recovered and is now doing fine without the tube. She still hovers near the microwave thinking a tube feeding is coming though. The key here is trying to balance supportive care with FeLV treatment. My vet always says a little extra weight is better than under weight when fighting sickness. If a cat doesn't have the energy/resources to mount an immune response they can weaken quickly. Is he on the Hills critical care food? It is supposed to be really high calorie and may stimulate the appetite.
Hang in there...we are all struggling with you.
He was eating fine on his own until last Thurs when I noticed he was eating oddly -- pushing his whole face in the bowl instead of picking the food up. Same thing with drinking, which made me look at his tongue. I've been supplementing him with the Hills a/d (critical care) since Saturday evening. I also find that unlike most of you, he has a day when he's mopey/off food about 24-48 hours after his LTCI injection. Yesterday was his mopey day. I'm sure like all of you, I'm on the roller-coaster. Optimistic when he has a good day, pessimistic when he has a bad day.
Does anyone know if Azithromycin has any sort of adverse reaction if used in conjunction with the Convenia injection? My little Bud, who has been asymptomatic for the past two years with LTCI, has been battling a nasty URI for about six weeks. She initially responded well to the first Convenia injection, but it was only about 10-12 days before she relapsed. On day 14, my vet gave her a 2nd Convenia injection, and it was basically the same outcome. This time, my vet went ahead and gave her another Convenia injection three days early since she was already showing signs of relapse. Unfortunately, Bud doesn't seem to be responding to the Convenia this time around. Her poor little eyes are so icky & swollen, she can barely open them. I've read a lot of good things about azithromycin, and I would really like to give it a try. My question is, will we need to wait the full two weeks for the Convenia to get out of Bud's system before we can try Azithromycin?
Sorry to hear Bud is coping with URI. URI is very nasty and take a lot time to battle it. It take a long time for the antibiotic to work. She has been around for so long and is like one of the beacons in fighting the feline FIV and FeLV. I don't know the answer to your question but I do wish her get well soon.
I just joined 910pets.com and am trying to make a forum entry for the first time. My wife and I have a bit of a dilemma with our new cat. We got her (three years old) from a private party and found out the next day at our vets office that she is positive for feline leukemia. We love the cat and her being positive would not matter were it not for the fact that we already have a cat, almost 14 years old, so we cannot allow any interaction or sharing. We brought up the idea of having our older cat vaccinated and then allowing them to interact, but she recommends against it because of the possibility of transmission, even with the vaccination. The vet said the test (snap test) was "very positive" so she did not even recommend a second test, even though the cat is not exhibiting any symptoms at all. She is very energetic, has a good appetite, and seems normal. We have decided to keep the cats separated and wait for 90 days and have a more complete test done and hope that she was infected only recently and can fight off the virus. We really want to keep this cat and finding anybody who will accept a cat infected with FELV is going to be difficult if not impossible. Would it be irresponsible to have our older cat vaccinated and let them live together? Also, I have read that up to 72% of positives on the snap test are false positives. Can anybody speak to this?
Welcome to the forum. I am sorry to hear that your new cat is FeLV positive. They can carry a large viral load without showing any clinical signs of the disease. Your question is a tough one. The disease can be passed by mutual grooming, sharing food and water, and grooming after sharing a litter box. Has your older cat had regular vaccinations for FeLV? Some vets will stop giving the FeLV vaccination after a certain age if exposure is contained (house cat with no outdoor access). The facts you state are true unfortunately...very few people if any will adopt a FeLV positive cat and most shelters will euthanize it right away (at least here in North Carolina). You also run the risk of exposing your older cat to the disease....It is going to be a tough decision to make. I had to make the same one when my cat was diagnosed....it traumatized her to keep her away from her sisters so I keep them together. I do hold my breath and pray the others do not get infected...it has been three years now all clear but there is always that possibility. I am sorry, I know you wanted a more definitive answer but you should know the risks. Considering her age, your older cats immune system may not be effective at fighting an FeLV infection. Or on the positive side she may have already been exposed to it and is resistant. Most cats will show clinical signs of the infection at 2-5 years of age although there are a few cases of older and younger cats succumbing to the disease. You should also know that even though a cat tests negative after a positive test it could still have the virus in a latent form which can be re-expressed at a later date by environmental triggers. The only really accurate test is PCR (polymerase chain reaction) which is cost prohibitive to do regularly. You have a very difficult decision and I wish I could help. Good Luck and please keep in touch...the folks on the blog are very helpful and willing to share their experiences.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. We took in our older cat when he was 5 years old and there was no evidence of his having been vaccinated for FELV. He has been tested and came up negative. He has been an indoor cat the whole time we've had him so did not get the vaccination. It helps just knowing that you have decided to let your cats interact, even though it was obviously not an easy decision. I have read a good deal now about FELV and there seem to be quite a few vets who think it is rare that a grown cat will contract the disease even if not vaccinated, while others view it differently. On the testing issue, I have read about a test that is more elaborate than the ELISA test that checks the white blood cells and is able to determine if the cat can spread the virus to others. Do you think the ELISA test should be done again later or should we just wait the 90 days and go with the more elaborate and more accurate test? I'm not sure our vet has all that much experience with FELV so we want to be prepared to discuss options from a position of knowledge. Thanks again for your response.
Although there are false positives I have not heard about as many as you mention. Is that using the SNAP test (quick ELISA)? If you think retesting is warranted and you may get a different result then surely your vet will retest. I have not heard about the test on the WBC...the PCR tests at the DNA level where the virus can incorporate its DNA into the cats genome. One thing on this blog that we seen is a critical factor is to start treatment right away. If you wait 3 months to retest and start treatment you are giving the virus time to take out the cats immune system and they may not recover at that point. The LTCI should not interfere with SNAP tests so you can start her on the protocol and retest at a later date. I retested Charley several times and the last two times she has tested negative (thanks to LTCI). However, she still has the virus in her bone marrow and genome and it can not be totally eradicated. By using LTCI regularly we give her system a constant boost in case the virus starts replicating and she can mount a proper response. Also consider starting her on supplements...if her immune system is fighting the virus (assuming it wasn't a false positive) she is using nutrients at a rapid rate and they need to be replaced so it can keep fighting. Another way to verify the disease status is to look at her blood work. Her hematocrit will be lowered, with elevated MCHC and possibly lymphocytes (this may be high or low depending on the type of infection). A chem panel is usually not necessary unless your vet wants to check liver health and other key enzymes. The CBC will confirm the FeLV test...if all the blood work is normal then I would suspect a false positive and retest. Hang in there and keep in touch.
With broken heart I must share my grief and tell you that I lost my dear Charley yesterday at 2pm. We were trying to taper her predinsolone since it was becoming toxic to her body and causing painful eye infections and high blood pressure. Monday she started acting nauseous and weak and we decided it was probably steroid withdrawal. After boosting her steroids and putting her on anti nausea medicine she still continued to decline. I was afraid to transport her as cats with steroid withdrawal can go into shock (addisonion crisis) or have cardiac collapse. I was speaking with Dr. Burris about this when Charley started to have seizures. We rushed her to the hospital and she had a heart attack on the way. Dr. Burris was waiting and was able to resusitate her, only to find her hematocrit had crashed to 7%. She rushed to get a donor in for a blood transfusion but Charley had several more heart attacks and despite Dr. Burris's valiant effort we lost that precious spirit. She was such a big part of our lives that it will take a while to recover. This will be my last post for a while as just writing this last blog is excrutiating without her sitting here with me. I hope that all those left on the forum will continue to help and support each other and the new folks that come along.
We will be with Charley for a while. God Bless everyone, as always you are all in my prayers.
Oh Lori, I'm so sorry. I share your grief and pain. I lost my darling Kato last Wednesday at the all too young age of 18 months. Although he was responding to the LTCI, the cancer had spread to his kidneys, and there was nothing more I could do to help him. I've been too distraught to post here, but I did want to thank you and everyone else on this wonderful forum for all the help and encouragement you've provided.
Will be keeping you in my thoughts. Hopefully happier days are ahead for both of us sometime soon.