Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Turk Has FeLV

I mentioned that I was worried about my Turk, and after yesterday's vet visit I wasn't happy. The vet gave him a very good antibiotic shot but he completely ignored Turk's funny breathing and I think he took it as nervousness because we were at the vet...
Last night Turk slept up against me or curled up at my feet all night long. He was still there when I woke up this morning.

curled between me and my laptop
This morning I took my Turk to another vet. I was immensely impressed with Fourways Veterinary Hospital, and the vet there actually listened to what I had to say.
He took Turk's temperature and found no fever, and his gums are still nice and pink so he's not anaemic. His coat isn't shiny though and he's been rather listless. The vet found no heart murmur and his lungs sounded good despite his rapid breathing. He weighed in at 5.3kg so he has lost a little weight, but not enough to be dangerous so I was very relieved at that. He then took Turk to do a few further tests and my heart sank when they came back with a very dark positive line on an FeLV test.
We considered doing Xrays to see if there were any lumps or masses but I couldn't afford them... :-(

the positive test line is VERY dark :-(

My Taxi's FeLV was one of the biggest reasons I keep my cats indoors. FeLV causes immunosuppression (it affects the cat's immune system) and they can easily catch illnesses and battle to get better, as well as spreading the virus through territorial fighting. Some cats can carry it without ever getting sick. The vet thought Turk may have gotten sick from Taxi, but Taxi has been gone for a year now. There's still a possibility he may have picked it up from Taxi and has been carrying it, but he could also have gotten it from his mother during birth or nursing and has been carrying it since then.
When Taxi got sick his biggest issue was severe gum disease which meant he couldn't eat and he lost a lot of weight before losing his teeth and getting the FeLV diagnosis. Apart from an occasional bout of listlessness and bad appetite- which we treated with a broad spectrum antibiotic- Taxi was otherwise healthy.
Some cats decline rapidly once they start showing signs of illness, and some can live for a long time if they are watched... 

I am really- REALLY- hoping Turk will start getting better now he's on antibiotics... We may consider anti-retrovirals but they are rather expensive and do not necessarily help.

I think I should take Magic, Minx and Diva to be tested next month...

You can read more about FeLV here, here and here.


Sharon said...

Oh no poor Turk :'( I really REALLY hope he gets better soon.