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Discussion Starter #1
I am going to call my vet this week, but I thought maybe someone would know about this.

With my impending move I start to worry about everything when it comes to my babies :)

My boyfriend say there are alot of outdoor cats near his house in Flordia. They are always around. My cats are all indoor cats and have never been outside. I live iin an upper flat so they aren't exposed to any other cats. When I got my youngest cat almost 2 years ago I opted to not get the vaccine for Lukemia. The vet said if my other cats were indoor and he was staying inside he shouldn't be exposed to it....so I really didn't need to get it for him. It was a choice I guess.

Anyway.......what I'm wondering is, are they at risk if they are near these outdoor cats....like through window screens, etc.

Sorry if this seems like a stupid question, but I really don't know that much about it.
 

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The risk is zero. Leukemia is not transmitted through casual contact. It takes prolonged close contact with a positive cat to contract leukemia.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Window Screen

If your cat touches noses through a window screen with a Feluk + cat he can catch the disease. It only takes a drop of body fluid that your cat can lick in an instant for him to become infected. I've buried over 15 cats who had feluk. I rescue cats and ahve a lot of experience. Believe me when I tell you if your cat can touch, even through a window screen, another cat that's possibly infected, definitely have him vaccinated. The sad part is the vaccine is not 100% effective. Most of the cats I buried were all vaccinated, but still became infected. I find very young cats are the most suseptible to catching the disease.
 

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As I said, it is IMPOSSIBLE to get Feline leukemia through a screen door. It is a wimpy virus and dies in the air. Your cat would have to drink a gallon of spit from an infected cat. This is just one of those rumors that causes far more harm than good and has no basis in fact.

It takes close, prolonged, personal contact to pass this disease. Like living together, mutual grooming, eating from the same bowl for weeks, months, years.

The vaccine can cause cancer. And, as mentioned, it doesn't even protect them from the disease.

70% of cats who are exposed to leukemia are able to fight it off with their own healthy immune system. Relatively few cats become persistently infected.

In my experience the risk from the vaccine is far worse than any risk of disease that an *indoor* cat is exposed to.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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feline leukemia

I know you're a doctor, but I think your descripton of feline leukemia as being a "whimpy virus" might be misunderstood by some people. Feline leukemia is highly contagous and should never be taken lightly. I did and 8 cats are dead because of it. I've had cats become infected who came behind feluke cats and ate the same wet food. Cats do not have to groom or bite to become infected. I had 3 kittens become infected after eating wet food a feluk positive cat left behind. I was told that couldn't happen and it did.

Let me ask you Dr. Jean, how many feluk positive cats have you owned personally? I've raised, nursed, and buried over 30. I've had so much experience that local vets in my area, refer their clients who own feluk cats to me for advice on treatment, counseling, etc.

I enjoy reading what you have to say because you are a doctor, but please never play down feline leukemia. It's a horrible, horrible disease. No one should ever think of it as "whimpy."
 

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You are absolutely right, sharing food bowls with a positive cat is a very good way to pass the disease. In fact, the best way (and probably only way) for a cat to get leukemia is to live with a cat that has it.

However, the most recent research shows that it is not "highly" contagious; in fact it is not an easy disease to transmit, specifically because the virus is not long-lived in the environment (which is what I mean by wimpy; it does not survive outside the body for very long). I am just disagreeing with the assertion that it can be passed by a single sneeze through a screen door. It can't.

I do not vaccinate my own cats for leukemia, and none have gotten the disease, even during the years they were allowed outside in a neighborhood that did have several feral cats who tested positive for that as well as FIV. My position is that the best defense against disease is a healthy immune system. Vaccination is no guarantee, and carries its own set of risks. We did not even carry the leukemia vaccine in the clinic I worked at for 5 years and saw about 12,000 cats in that time. None of my *unvaccinated* patients ever got the disease either. However, I saw quite a few vaccine-induced cancers as well as fully vaccinated cats who got leukemia anyway.

The risk of contracting leukemia in a house that has positive cats living in it is very high, as is the case in your situation. However, the initial question *here* was, for a completely indoor cat, what is the risk of disease, and should the cat be vaccinated? All vaccinations should be assessed according to the risk versus the benefit. My opinion is that the risk of getting the disease for a 100% indoor cat is zero, while the risk of an adverse reaction, including fatal cancer, is somewhat greater than zero. That is the basis on which this cat's vaccination program should be decided.

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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Transfer Factor supplement

Since you brought up the healthy immune system, that reminded me that I wanted to ask you and others who participate in this forum if you have ever heard of or used a natural supplement called "Transfer Factor" and "Transfer Factor Plus?" I understand there are formula's for animals as well as humans, but the "testimonials" given say that vets are using the human supplement on cats and dogs.

I wanted to buy some to give my immune impaired animals, i.e., feluk positive cats, herpes positive, etc.

Any information anyone can supply will be greatly appreciated.
 

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I have only used colostrum a couple of times myself, but I know many vets who use Transfer Factor products and swear by them. It sure couldn't hurt!

Cheers,
Dr. Jean
 

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That is NOT a silly question at all........As a matter of fact, I was wondering the same thing just last night. It seems that since we got a cat the strays seem to like to hang out in our back yard. My cat must be hot looking to them, but don't tell them that he is nipped. :wink:
I was watching my cat in the window looking down at a stray and was getting a little worried about any kind of transmission of diseases.

Thank you for asking this question!!!
 
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