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Pet Wellness

Feline Leukemia Virus Infection

2017-07-01

General information

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is one of the most common and destructive of all cat viruses. It is highly contagious and is spread primarily by saliva during catfights, grooming or mating. The virus may also be spread by blood, urine and feces. Kittens may become infected while still in the womb, at birth, or during nursing.

Currently, there is no effective treatment for cats infected with FeLV. Of the cats persistently infected, about 25% will die within one year, and 75% will die within three years. Some may live longer, but tend to have various chronic illnesses.

Illness

There are no signs specific for FeLV infection, because it can affect any organ system. The main effect of the virus is to disrupt the cat’s immune system. While anemia is the most common disorder caused by the virus, cancer and various other diseases are common. Some disorders commonly associated with FeLV include: chronic GI or respiratory disease; chronic infection of the mouth, gums and tongue; chronic eye disease; frequent or chronic skin disease and frequent or chronic urinary tract infections.

Prevention

Outdoor cats (ie those exposed to other cats) are at risk for developing FeLV infection. Testing and vaccination before exposure to the virus is the best means of preventing FeLV infection. The vaccination protocol is two initial vaccines one month apart, followed by yearly boosters. Without vaccination, isolation from other cats is the only means of prevention.

Monthly Minutes

Cold Weather Pet Safety

12/16/2018

Most of us know about warm-weather related health hazards when it comes to our pets, but colder weather comes with its own set of potential problems. To insure your furry friends can enjoy our Minnesota winter, here are some tips to keep them safe and healthy this season.

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The Realities of Heartworm Disease

12/10/2018

Heartworm disease is found in many areas of the world, including the United States. It is a serious disease that can be fatal, even with treatment. It is caused by worms that can grow up to a foot long, and live in the heart, lungs, and associated blood vessels of affected animals.

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Symptoms of Heartworm?

7/3/2017

Most dogs infected with heartworms do not show any signs for a long time.  Eventually, as the disease progresses, the animal may exhibit such signs as coughing, weakness, shortness of breath, and exercise intolerance. 

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