Advice Needed - FeLV+ kitten with coccidia

dolceshmolce

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Hello all. Long story ahead.

I recently rescued a little stray kitten, who we named Loki, from our neighborhood which backs up to a forest. He is now 7 or 8 weeks old, we rescued him on July 16th. Originally, his first 2 vet appointments only consisted of checking vitals & then for giardia and coccidia because of his diarrhea. At his 2nd appointment they found he had giardia & we went through that treatment (as well as regular dewormer) with success. He went from 0.95 lbs to 1.63 lbs in 2 weeks and is happy and seemingly healthy.

Fast forward to yesterday - I took him to the vet a 3rd time for a giardia follow-up & first round of vaccines. It wasn’t until yesterday that they decided to check for FIV & FeLV or even mentioned the possibility of them to me. I am new to rescuing kitties straight off of the street, so that was not common sense to me. Most of the cats I’ve had in my life were when I lived with my parents and they handled all the vet care. I guess I should have paid more attention then.
Well, he is FeLV+. (AND has coccidia, which I’ll address further down) I was so upset and angry at the vet for not mentioning the dangers of those things to me at the first appointments.

Since he was a new kitty & had giardia initially, I did quarantine him to my best ability before even finding out about the FeLV. However, my resident cat, Oliver who is 2 years old, opened up the bathroom door on multiple occasions and hung out with Loki, Loki ran around our house, and Oliver used Loki’s litter box while we were gone. This happened before the FeLV result. And before anyone says “you should have done a better job at keeping them away from each other”, I did what I thought was my best and Oliver always seems to outsmart me, and it is now in the past. I feel the guilt of a mother allowing her child to be in the presence of a deadly disease, and I will have to live with that. Oliver truly loves Loki, he sits outside of his door and cries all day. At the time, I thought the worst that could happen is Oliver contracts giardia and we have to treat him too.

But now, obviously, my biggest worry is FeLV. Oliver is not vaccinated since he’s an indoor only cat. He was vaccinated for it in his first kitten vaccine appointments when he was with his foster last year, but we didn’t vaccinate for it the past times because it was not recommended. I am 100% sure that he ate Loki’s food, drank his water, used his litter box, and probably even played with him or groomed because he’s a big lovey and loves other kitties.

Poor Loki is now confined to our bathroom. It’s the only room without carpet that we can isolate him in. We have better barrier now so that Oliver can’t get to the door. We had every intention of keeping him and giving him a chance at a good life, but now it seems if Oliver turns up negative for FeLV in a week when he gets tested (praying to God he is negative, he is my baby), Loki will need to be rehomed. Even with getting Oliver vaccinated, I know that the vaccine is not 100% effective and we can’t risk that, it’s just not fair to him.

Questions:
Is this even impossible, adopting out a kitten with FeLV? I feel so bad, I am doubting that anyone will even want him. I wish I had a cat-loving friend or family member who didn’t already have a cat. But we can’t keep the poor guy confined to a small room all of his life, that’s a sad life and he will miss out on socializing & just being a kitten. And I can’t bear putting him down just for this. Does anyone have any advice for this?

For Loki’s FeLV - Does he have a chance? He already went through malnourishment, giardia, and now coccidia. Does a kitten this age not live long past diagnosis? Or could he possibly live a long life?
Are there any supplements I can give him to boost his immune system?

For Oliver’s possible FeLV - If he is a healthy adult, could his body be strong enough to fight it off? I am in denial that he could have it, I feel so much guilt. My vet wants to wait one more week to test to give it more time to show up if it’s there. I am aware that it can be dormant in the body for months and months and then show up, so this test won’t even give us a 100% guarantee.

For the coccidia - I know this is highly contagious through fecal matter. I also know that the dang things are almost impossible to kill, and with his compromised immune system I want to do everything I can to protect him from reinfection. What do y’all recommend I use to sanitize his space that not only kills the coccidia, but is safe for him and us? I know I’ll have to throw away his cat tree and bedding if and when he tests negative.
Also, what are the odds of the coccidia being toxoplasmosis? My husband and I are trying for a baby right now, and now I’m freaking out that he has toxoplasmosis and that it’s in our home. Might put that on pause this month. I will call my vet to ask if we can test for that specifically, since I’m guessing the test he had just tested for the presence of coccidia overall and not what the strain is.

Sorry I have so many questions. This whole situation is truly an entire shi*show and I am devastated in so many ways. Mentally, I have hit a wall and feel defeated. I don’t even know the first step.

Thank you for any advice or even personal stories.
 
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dolceshmolce

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To edit: Oliver was with him foster in 2019, not last year like I said above. Time flies!
 

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dolceshmolce dolceshmolce
Hi,
I adopted a cat around 1.5 years who was FELV positive. In the shelter he lived in a room with other FELV positive cats. The shelter said to retest him after three months, as sometimes they can clear the virus. He tested clear and is now FELV free.

As the kitten is still young he may be able to clear the virus as well.
As long as they do not fight it is not likely to be picked up by your cat but I would keep them separate as a precaution.

To my understanding, mating and fighting are the main ways of transmission but I think sharing food, water and litter boxes are also a transmission source but less so.

The kitten can go on to live a long life, even if he never clears the virus but he would need an indoor only home. Many cats show no symptoms.

In trying to find a new home, do not give away for free as often such cats and dogs are used to train fighting dogs or sold to laboratories.

Indoor only homes are more common these days and I think he can find a loving home with some effort. He should be an only cat until (if) he clears the virus. But he can live with other FELV positive cats if the adopter wanted another cat.
 

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Actually, repeated and/or prolonged instances of grooming is a very common method of FELV transmission, along with other behaviors that expose infected saliva or urine to cats (and in utero/nursing transmission). Of course that includes biting and mating too, but it can happen through sharing water bowls and litter boxes -- this is just much rarer since the virus doesn't live long outside the host and the viral load is much lower when contracted from a surface.
Was Loki diagnosed with ELISA, immunofluorescence, or PCR?
 

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First of all, don’t panic. I know the diagnosis is scary but I worked with a large colony of feral Felv. Most of the adult cats seemed to contract it from mating or injury bites from fighting. That does not rule out other ways of getting it but that seemed to be the biggest risk to the adults. Secondly, get the test repeated a bit later.
The Coccidia needs to be eliminated.,Is the kitten on meds for it? I know we read about how contagious Coccidea is but I had ten kittens and two moms with it and none of the others in that colony of a hundred caught it. Nor did I have a problem disinfecting after bringing them in. I didn’t have a cat tree but I used Clorox to clean everything. Keep the kitties away from the Clorox until all smell is gone and surfaces are totally dry for a couple of hours. After the Clorox I cleaned again with plain old Dawn dish liquid and water. I did not have any repeat of the illness. Later I had a dumped kitty that had Coccidea. Again, a good and thorough cleaning and no one else caught it. Use good hygiene and wash hands well between kitties.
Now…... I have a 14 year old Felv that I rescued when he was young. He lives in a house with many others but they are vaccinated and my Felv kitty lives in his own bedroom. He does get to come out for human visits but is not sharing food, litter or water. He cannot be around my Fiv kitty though. It really has not been a big problem to let them lead separate lives and this has been going on for years as I do a lot of rescues. My Felv cat usually gets nights with me and the others get the daytime. No other cat has ever contracted it from him. I have other cats that have lived here the entire fourteen years. If you feel you need to rehome your Felv baby, there are homes where he can live with other Felv cats. It is totally possible that the kitten may not have an active case and can live a long and happy life. If it becomes active then it becomes a higher risk to him and other kitties.
Toxoplasmosis is another issue that can cause the kitten to become weak, lethargic, stop eating or have fever. It can affect kitty in other ways like breathing. It can be treated with medicine though. For you, wear gloves when cleaning the litter, clean it daily or have someone else clean it and wash your hands. Again, practice good hygiene.
This kitten does not need to be put down due to the diagnosis. Only if kitty becomes terminally ill with it.
Build the kitten up with excellent nutrition, lots of caring and follow vet care and prescriptions to address current illness. Your vet should be a great resource so ask lots of questions. If the vet is so short on time these days that it’s hard to get everything answered, make a list before going in for visits. That saves time and makes it easier to get the info you need. Please don’t despair. This can all be worked out. Get the kitten through the immediate health issues and go from there. Oliver is probably not Felv infected. No one here would ever want you to feel bad that there was accidental contact. Cats are masters at getting in the very places we try to keep them out of. It happens. Please do not feel bad about that. You caught it and corrected it. You are an excellent cat guardian and a kitty hero. You are working to save that little life. Bravo! You have no idea how many people out there don’t care about saving a kitty. You have my gratitude for all you are doing. Please do keep us updated and if you have further questions or concerns, please post back. Many of our members have Felv cats and may be able to share experiences. BTW, my Felv has gotten out of his room a time or two as well.:alright:
 

Joelle and the kittens

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I found steam cleaning surfaces to be an effective and non-toxic method of killing coccidia oocysts. I also regularly bleached litter boxes and kennel trays. Steaming is also great for fabrics that would otherwise be damaged by chemical treatments. For the actual medicine, my kittens had two courses of sulfa and one dose of toltrazuril. They still have diarrhea occasionally but the vet says it's coccidia-free at least...
 
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dolceshmolce

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dolceshmolce dolceshmolce
Hi,
I adopted a cat around 1.5 years who was FELV positive. In the shelter he lived in a room with other FELV positive cats. The shelter said to retest him after three months, as sometimes they can clear the virus. He tested clear and is now FELV free.

As the kitten is still young he may be able to clear the virus as well.
As long as they do not fight it is not likely to be picked up by your cat but I would keep them separate as a precaution.

To my understanding, mating and fighting are the main ways of transmission but I think sharing food, water and litter boxes are also a transmission source but less so.

The kitten can go on to live a long life, even if he never clears the virus but he would need an indoor only home. Many cats show no symptoms.

In trying to find a new home, do not give away for free as often such cats and dogs are used to train fighting dogs or sold to laboratories.

Indoor only homes are more common these days and I think he can find a loving home with some effort. He should be an only cat until (if) he clears the virus. But he can live with other FELV positive cats if the adopter wanted another cat.
Thank you for sharing. This gives me hope! He is actually fighting off the coccidia beautifully already, so our Loki has some fighter in him.
Praying that his little body can fight of the FeLV. The vet seems to not have any hope that he could overcome it, but I sure do. But if not, I have hope that he come overcome the odds and live some good years. Praying those years are with us, but we will see.

If we do adopt him out, we are certainly going to do everything in our power to make sure he goes into a loving home, including requiring an adoption fee.
 
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dolceshmolce

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Actually, repeated and/or prolonged instances of grooming is a very common method of FELV transmission, along with other behaviors that expose infected saliva or urine to cats (and in utero/nursing transmission). Of course that includes biting and mating too, but it can happen through sharing water bowls and litter boxes -- this is just much rarer since the virus doesn't live long outside the host and the viral load is much lower when contracted from a surface.
Was Loki diagnosed with ELISA, immunofluorescence, or PCR?
He was diagnosed with a SNAP test, which I am under the impression of as being a type of ELISA. Correct me if I am wrong.
I’ve requested a retesting to rule out a false positive. My vet said we can do that, and I think I’m going to wait a couple weeks and then go back in. He said if two ELISA tests come back positive, then it is a guarantee that he has it.
 
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dolceshmolce

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First of all, don’t panic. I know the diagnosis is scary but I worked with a large colony of feral Felv. Most of the adult cats seemed to contract it from mating or injury bites from fighting. That does not rule out other ways of getting it but that seemed to be the biggest risk to the adults. Secondly, get the test repeated a bit later.
The Coccidia needs to be eliminated.,Is the kitten on meds for it? I know we read about how contagious Coccidea is but I had ten kittens and two moms with it and none of the others in that colony of a hundred caught it. Nor did I have a problem disinfecting after bringing them in. I didn’t have a cat tree but I used Clorox to clean everything. Keep the kitties away from the Clorox until all smell is gone and surfaces are totally dry for a couple of hours. After the Clorox I cleaned again with plain old Dawn dish liquid and water. I did not have any repeat of the illness. Later I had a dumped kitty that had Coccidea. Again, a good and thorough cleaning and no one else caught it. Use good hygiene and wash hands well between kitties.
Now…... I have a 14 year old Felv that I rescued when he was young. He lives in a house with many others but they are vaccinated and my Felv kitty lives in his own bedroom. He does get to come out for human visits but is not sharing food, litter or water. He cannot be around my Fiv kitty though. It really has not been a big problem to let them lead separate lives and this has been going on for years as I do a lot of rescues. My Felv cat usually gets nights with me and the others get the daytime. No other cat has ever contracted it from him. I have other cats that have lived here the entire fourteen years. If you feel you need to rehome your Felv baby, there are homes where he can live with other Felv cats. It is totally possible that the kitten may not have an active case and can live a long and happy life. If it becomes active then it becomes a higher risk to him and other kitties.
Toxoplasmosis is another issue that can cause the kitten to become weak, lethargic, stop eating or have fever. It can affect kitty in other ways like breathing. It can be treated with medicine though. For you, wear gloves when cleaning the litter, clean it daily or have someone else clean it and wash your hands. Again, practice good hygiene.
This kitten does not need to be put down due to the diagnosis. Only if kitty becomes terminally ill with it.
Build the kitten up with excellent nutrition, lots of caring and follow vet care and prescriptions to address current illness. Your vet should be a great resource so ask lots of questions. If the vet is so short on time these days that it’s hard to get everything answered, make a list before going in for visits. That saves time and makes it easier to get the info you need. Please don’t despair. This can all be worked out. Get the kitten through the immediate health issues and go from there. Oliver is probably not Felv infected. No one here would ever want you to feel bad that there was accidental contact. Cats are masters at getting in the very places we try to keep them out of. It happens. Please do not feel bad about that. You caught it and corrected it. You are an excellent cat guardian and a kitty hero. You are working to save that little life. Bravo! You have no idea how many people out there don’t care about saving a kitty. You have my gratitude for all you are doing. Please do keep us updated and if you have further questions or concerns, please post back. Many of our members have Felv cats and may be able to share experiences. BTW, my Felv has gotten out of his room a time or two as well.:alright:
Thank you for your words of encouragement! Just what I needed to hear after feeling like such a bad cat mom. I truly did my best & just wasn’t aware of all the possible dangers.
Once his coccidia is cleared up, I am going to set him up in our guest bedroom so he has a cozy bed & window to bask in the sun. And I will be able to sleep in there sometimes!
I would like to get Loki retested, I just don’t know when. My vet doesn’t seem to have any hope that he will turn up negative and told me when I test him won’t make a difference. But I’m tempted to keep him at least for another month or two, build up his immune system, and test him then. It’s frustrating when vets don’t give much hope, but I understand they are just relaying what they typically see in their practice and being realistic.

Speaking of coccidia - my vet confirmed it is not toxoplasmosis or any type that can pass to humans! WOOHOO! Yes, he is on Pona..something. We started treatment yesterday. The infection is very low-grade, he said we caught it very early and they only saw one or two eggs in his poop. He has zero signs of the coccidia infection, which is great because I was worried about another weight gain setback. It is still a threat to Oliver and my dog, Dingo so we need to be super careful with them, but I am so relieved that my husband and I so far don’t have anything to worry about with our health so we feel much more free to love on him (with proper hand washing afterwards, of course) 🤗
 
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dolceshmolce

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I found steam cleaning surfaces to be an effective and non-toxic method of killing coccidia oocysts. I also regularly bleached litter boxes and kennel trays. Steaming is also great for fabrics that would otherwise be damaged by chemical treatments. For the actual medicine, my kittens had two courses of sulfa and one dose of toltrazuril. They still have diarrhea occasionally but the vet says it's coccidia-free at least...
This is great to know, thank you. I have a steam cleaner for hard floors, so I can use that and then wash the mop attachments with bleach afterwards.
How often did you bleach their litter boxes? And at why dilution did you do it? Luckily Loki doesn’t have diarrhea, so it isn’t flinging onto the walls like it did when he had giardia 💩
His medication is Pona..something. We just started it yesterday.
I’m sorry to hear your kitties are still having poop problems, but I’m happy that they are coccidia free. I hope they are able to overcome it soon!
 

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I have had my vet get me to give plain ( no seasonings of any kind!) purées pumpkin to help with tummy troubles. Loose or constipated. Always check with your vet before using such things but I found it helpful. Just a tiny amount mixed into canned food.
A retest may not change results but if the Felv is basically dormant, Loki can have a good long life. My Mackie is having a great life. I call him my laughing cat. He is a happy fellow. I know that the time may come when he finally gets sick but we have had wonderful years together. I also have two elderly cats that came from the same colony that have never tested as having Felv. They were all in very close contact before being rescued. It all just depends on the state of the Felv as well as exposure levels. Although rare, some cats have fought off Felv entirely according to Cornell University. That is the exception but still, try to stay hopeful. If you discover that Loki is positive, you might want to read what Cornell says and I will be happy to give you a link to that info.
 
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dolceshmolce

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I have had my vet get me to give plain ( no seasonings of any kind!) purées pumpkin to help with tummy troubles. Loose or constipated. Always check with your vet before using such things but I found it helpful. Just a tiny amount mixed into canned food.
A retest may not change results but if the Felv is basically dormant, Loki can have a good long life. My Mackie is having a great life. I call him my laughing cat. He is a happy fellow. I know that the time may come when he finally gets sick but we have had wonderful years together. I also have two elderly cats that came from the same colony that have never tested as having Felv. They were all in very close contact before being rescued. It all just depends on the state of the Felv as well as exposure levels. Although rare, some cats have fought off Felv entirely according to Cornell University. That is the exception but still, try to stay hopeful. If you discover that Loki is positive, you might want to read what Cornell says and I will be happy to give you a link to that info.
The pumpkin purée is a great tip, I will ask my vet about that but I don’t see why I couldn’t give it to him. I occasionally it with my dog that has IBS and it helps his poops so much.
I’m trying to keep a practical outlook of realizing that he most likely is positive & that it will be a welcomed miracle if he’s not. He’s already responding so well to the coccidia treatment and already beat giardia, so I think he might have some quality life ahead of him.
 
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dolceshmolce

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Awwww! Loki! You are so adorable! Love the pictures! Thanks for that smile!
Can’t resist his cuteness! The second one is from whenever Oliver aided in his escape and we came home to him curled up on the couch 🙈 I felt so bad to move him from his cozy spot.
 

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Cuteness is irresistible! Lol I’m sure you can provide plenty of snuggle spots though. My cats each have their own carrier that I use as safe sanctuary and private bedrooms. I put a nice towel or blanket inside and they all love their little houses. That doubles as a secure place for them whenever we go anywhere. Kind of like a turtle carrying his house with him. Lol
 

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This Merck Vet article gives a very in-depth, high-level overview of FeLV. In particular, it has this to say about the disease course:
The most recent classification system for FeLV labels infections as progressive, abortive, regressive, and focal. Progressive infections are defined by uninhibited viral replication with subsequent persistent viremia and probable eventual manifestation of clinical disease. Previously, most adult cats were thought to have abortive infections in which transient viremia was followed by complete clearance of viral infection. However, improved sensitivity of PCR testing has revealed that antigen-negative cats may still harbor FeLV provirus in tissues; this is termed regressive infection. It is believed that cats with regressive infections generally are aviremic, do not shed infectious virus, and do not develop FeLV-associated diseases; however, they are considered carriers with the potential for reactivation and future shedding.
Since the positive result was from an ELISA, there's the possibility that it will be a regressive or abortive infection rather than persistent. A positive IFA would indicate bone marrow involvement which is a strong predictor of persistent viremia.
Discordant results between tests, often a positive initial ELISA followed by negative results on either repeat ELISA or IFA, may reflect the inconsistent antigen circulation during various stages of FeLV infection, technical error, or possibly regressive infection status. These cats are generally considered presumptively infected and potential sources of infection until further clarification is possible. Standard recommendations to resolve discordant testing dictate repeating both tests in 30–60 days using serum instead of whole blood. It is not uncommon for cats, especially kittens, to test negative on a subsequent test. This could indicate a false-positive on the first test, a false-negative on the second test, or development of a regressive or abortive infection status. Once a single positive test result has been obtained, it can be difficult to ever know the true status of the cat, even if subsequent tests are negative.
I bleached whenever they had a particularly liquid manifestation that got on the walls of the litter box. My steamer is for clothes so it uses a flexible hose, which is convenient for reaching into corners and inside fabric items. You have to get the nozzle very close to the surface to deliver the hottest steam for it to be effective though. It's great that Loki seems asymptomatic for coccidia!
 

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Handsome little fellow 🙂

I have a steamer that is for floors and it comes with different attatchments. I also use it on curtains and as was mentioned above you, need it very close to get the steam on the object.

About your previous question on boosting immunity. A good diet and reduced stress help.
I use vitamin pastes from time to time. Some say they are for boosting immunity. The ones I buy are from Gim Cat & Unitabs which are sold in Europe I am not sure if the same brands are in the US. They come in a tube. You can also find vitamin tablets.

Theoretically, the food you feed should be enough but some may skate the line and just give the minimum. Plus I also feed treat foods from time to time which are not complete or I make chicken and broth again not a complete food. So if feeding a non complete food as a treat - I give vitamin paste also as a treat.
Just make sure not over doing vitamin A.
 
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dolceshmolce

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Flybynight Flybynight Thank you for your reply! I haven’t actually played with much steamer much..ideally I should steam my floors every couple weeks but in reality, I use it every few months 😹 So I’ll see what the attachments do.
I actually just purchased him a high calorie nutritional paste yesterday! It seems to have a wide array vitamins and minerals, as well as omega fatty acids. He loves the fishy taste. I’m giving him only one serving a day as to not overdo it on the fat-soluble vitamins. Mixing that into his Royal Canin wet kitten food, so I’m hoping that he’s getting everything he needs.
 
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