Living with Felv+ and Felv- kitties

di and bob

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Remember most vets are very negative on FeLV, Most want euthanasia even when they are doing good. It's very important that you and your little girl fight against this. Stay positive. I am a negative person so it is VERY hard for me, but every day I have with my little one is a good day. Like my vet said, " Cats are remarkably strong, they surprise me and make me wrong all the time!" Remember, there ARE still miracles in this world, keep the faith and you will all meet at that bridge one day.......
 
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Francesca78

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Remember most vets are very negative on FeLV, Most want euthanasia even when they are doing good. It's very important that you and your little girl fight against this. Stay positive. I am a negative person so it is VERY hard for me, but every day I have with my little one is a good day. Like my vet said, " Cats are remarkably strong, they surprise me and make me wrong all the time!" Remember, there ARE still miracles in this world, keep the faith and you will all meet at that bridge one day.......
I am quite lucky in that sense, because my vets are very supportive. The one who is following me, who is a cat person, told me that I am doing the right thing with keeping them together, in spite of Virginia being positive. With the vaccine and some attention on my part, it can work. But I think there may be a different attitude in other practices, both in my country and around the world. I tend to be very negative too, unfortunately, and this morning I felt very low. But then I look at them, at Virginia, and she is so incredibly precious. We're going to be fine, because we love one another :) And yes, one day we'll meet over that bridge!
 

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So, today was a bad day for me: I was very down, thinking of Virginia and fearing for her sisters (who are negative and have received already one of the two felv vaccine shots). Then I started contextualizing it all... Virginia is healthy now, and may be for months or years to come. Her sisters ARE NEGATIVE. I should focus on that and on the fact they haven't contracted it (and now are boosted by the vaccine) rather than seeing all dark. It's important to stay positive for them, too, because they sense our feelings.

My plan of action, now, is the following: I'll wait for the CPR results, which I should get Monday or Tuesday, even though I am already in the frame of mind that little Virginia is positive. Then, I will discuss potential supplements etc with the vet and I think I will look into those you guys suggested here (@Mighty Orange suggested colloidal silver and di and bob di and bob suggested DMG and LifeGold) so I can see what they say. I am also going to contact the vet Antonio65 Antonio65 mentioned. Of course, I am not expecting miracles, but anything that can help Virginia remain healthy and her sisters strong is good.

Of course, the idea that she may have a shorter life is painful. But then I think about how beautiful and full of love and fun the last year Puccio and I had together was, after he was diagnosed with heart disease: he was 17, I knew he wasn't going to be with me for long, but we had a fantastic year. Plus, it's always only goodbye. There is a place on the other side of the rainbow they cross, and we'll meet there again.

I am just writing down what I am thinking, in pure James Joyce-like stream of consciousness (with some commas here and there!), so I apologize if it doesn't make sense... Thanks for listening and for all the support! :)
You say that you are keeping all cats together and your vet says you're doing the right thing, but you also write that the healthy kittens have received the first of the two shots of the FeLV vaccine.
You should be aware of the fact that the first shot isn't giving them a sufficient protection yet. A certain degree of protection is given by the second shot and only after about ten days the second shot.
But you have also said that they didn't get infected by Virginia despite the fact they lived all together prior to knowing that she was positive to FeLV.

I would suggest you to have all cats re-tested in six month's time, just in case. You might find out that Virginia has spontaneously recovered from the disease. Or, God forbid, some of the other kitties might have been infected too.
Furthermore, all tests have been done on this borderline age where some tests might be negative or positive and both could be false.

Fingers crossed for the PCR test result tomorrow or Tuesday, think... positive, no pun intended ;)
And forget the Bridge at the moment, it isn't time for this yet. And these words come from one of the most negative people there are ;)
 
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Francesca78

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Yes! I am aware of the vaccine protection and the window gaps...They work pretty much like the ones we get!
The vet said mostly to try and keep them separated when they eat, which I have been doing. And you're right, they should all be tested again in a few months, just to be safe, but I am sure the vet will suggest that. Hopefully the vaccine will protect them soon. In the meanwhile, I'll be watchful and cross my fingers. I wouldn't really be able to separate them anyway and I don't have the heart of doing it.
 
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Francesca78

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So, the CPR results came in and she is positive for sure, with a progressive infection. I expected it, but I am very afraid for the other 3 now, even more than before. I have to ring in tomorrow morning to speak with the vet who is following us because she was off today: we will discuss strategies. I am at peace with the results, but it's still a heavy load to take.
 

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I was going to write and ask you if there was some news, and I'm reading this. I am sorry for the confirmation of your doubt, let us know what the vets will tell you tomorrow.
 
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Francesca78

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I will keep you all updated of course. In a way, as I said, I knew what was coming. I was ready for it. I will take care of her just like I took care of Puccio and Anselmo before her. With Puccio especially, him being an elderly cat, I knew we didn't have decades to spend together - just like with her - but that didn't make the time we had together any less amazing. I am afraid of seeing her suffer, like my Anselmo, who died of lymphoma. But after him I became very adamant that I don't want to see them suffer like that, and that I rather let me go peacefully when it's the right time. With Puccio, that's what I did.

I am worried about the other three. I've been reading around, trying to get as much relevant literature as possible (vet journals, the Cornell School of Veterinary etc), and it seems that ELISA negatives are quite reliable. I understand that there is a window of four weeks (although some research says ELISA can be accurate after two already, but I need to look better into that) when the cat may show negative even if it's positive, but considering the four of them had lived together, without me checking for anything, for five months before they were tested, and that since Virginia's diagnosis they all received one dose (I know, there is no protection yet, but one is better than nothing), I hope they are not going to catch it now. Plus, I am really doing all I can to keep them "separated" without separating them: I work remotely, so I am home all day basically...: they are fed separately and I supervise meal times; dishes are immediately washed. I clean the litter boxes every hour; I wash the water dishes and change the water also every hour or two. If I catch them grooming, I distract them and cuddle the "groomer" so that they stop. I do this with all of them, not only with Virginia, the little positive one.

What's your take on this all?
 

Antonio65

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I say that you are doing it all perfectly, and after all, if after five months of life together, without you knowing what was going on, then I may say that luck is on your side.
What I would do, though, and I say it again "what I would do" (not what you should do), is to have the other three kittens checked regularly, and see if something happens down the line. I'm sort of a helicopter dad to my kitties, so I always keep an eye on them and run regular blood works even if everything is fine, just to avoid any surprise.

You might want to seek a second opinion about feline infective diseases with one of the most famous specialists on this in the country, who, incidentally, is based in Turin. If you are interested, I can PM you with his details. I think he can give you an opinion over the phone. He did this with me several years ago.
 

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Remember that most vets believe it is easily transmissable. Newer studies say it is spread through mating and deep bites. Like FIP. I believe that, or i hold on to it anyway. My other two have never been as sick as my little positive boy. One has bad lungs, but always has, ever since his distemper infection. I could never separate them. If it is easily transmissable they would have it already anyway.
Dont give up. Just pray and love them as long as you can....
 
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Francesca78

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Remember that most vets believe it is easily transmissable. Newer studies say it is spread through mating and deep bites. Like FIP. I believe that, or i hold on to it anyway. My other two have never been as sick as my little positive boy. One has bad lungs, but always has, ever since his distemper infection. I could never separate them. If it is easily transmissable they would have it already anyway.
Dont give up. Just pray and love them as long as you can....
Can I ask you where you found these studies? I am trying to get my hands on some good literature, but it's not easy. It's good to have support and I treasure your words :)
 
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Francesca78

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I say that you are doing it all perfectly, and after all, if after five months of life together, without you knowing what was going on, then I may say that luck is on your side.
What I would do, though, and I say it again "what I would do" (not what you should do), is to have the other three kittens checked regularly, and see if something happens down the line. I'm sort of a helicopter dad to my kitties, so I always keep an eye on them and run regular blood works even if everything is fine, just to avoid any surprise.

You might want to seek a second opinion about feline infective diseases with one of the most famous specialists on this in the country, who, incidentally, is based in Turin. If you are interested, I can PM you with his details. I think he can give you an opinion over the phone. He did this with me several years ago.
Oh, I am a TOTAL helicopter mom when it comes to my cats!!! So, yes, I was thinking to get the other three regularly checked every six months anyway, even if they are ok. I used to do the same with Puccio when he was in his older age and I think it's the right thing to do forthem too. Please, do PM me with the name of the vet you're talking about. I may send him an email or ring him and see if I can consult with him online or over the phone after I spoke with my vet. Although, I must say it, I do trust them. They are very good, which is also something that makes me fell more at ease...
 

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Hi F Francesca78 ! I'm dealing with very similar situation. I have 6 of my own cats and 3 foster cats. One of my fosters developed uveitis which lead to glaucoma. She initially tested negative as a kitten. She was around all of my cats and the other fosters for several months. The plan was to have all of them retested, but we have only retested the other two fosters who have been around her the longest and one that came from the same colony. I have debated whether or not to have all of mine retested as I think it can be hit or miss especially since there are different brands of the ELISA test. I understand what you are going through and it's very difficult. My foster that tested positive ended up having an eye removed and she is blind in her 'good' eye. She is doing very well in spite of this. You are doing the right thing and it sounds like you have an amazing vet!
 
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Francesca78

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Seeing that there are many of you going through similar situations makes me feel less alone and somehow better. The vet clinic where I bring them has many vets, some of them specialists. The one who is caring for Virginia and the other girls right now is a cat lady like us - she told me! - and she is the one taking care of FeLV kitties at the clinic. What I found always with them is not only that they are great professionals, but that they are very "human", from the specialist vet all the way to the vet tech. I will let you all know what she says tomorrow when I ring her. I have already written down the names of the supplements that you guys in the group suggested, so I'll see what she says too. :)
 

di and bob

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There were reports that said that the cats do not shed the virus at all times. And it is rarely passed through litterboxes and eating together. But they still can shed the virus. My little one was separated from the others when he quit eating. But like I said he has not been really sick since I started him on DMG and LifeGold. It has been three years. You have to do what you think is right, and follow your vet's recommendations. I'm glad I didn't put him down as the vet suggested, I have had three more years with him.....PS naturally I can't find that research. But I may have been hoping so hard I clung to one study. Everything you read is SO negative. The best thing to do is do as your vet says...l...
 
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Francesca78

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Good morning everyone (well, it's morning here in Italy :) )
My vet rang me about two hours ago, and we spoke about Virginia. She said to keep on doing what I am doing (separate food, extra cleaning etc); she said to trust the negative of the other three, because the ELISA on negative is good, and that the vaccine will of course give them extra protection. Virginia, she said to keep her happy, feed her well and, if she keeps feeling fine like she does now, to bring her in for a full blood count in January (I asked if it was necessary to bring her on the 14th, when her sisters are getting the second felv vax shot, and she said that, considering she is doing fine now, it's ok to wait after the holidays. Of course, she also said to bring her in if she feels unwell). On the basis of those tests, we may start her on interferon. I think I will order the LifeGold for her. For the rest, she told Felv is a bitch, because you can't predict anything, something we all know. That kittens who get it usually have a very short life, but again... that we can't say.

I am at peace with the diagnosis. I trust my vets. I love my kitties. All I want to do now is to give Virginia the best time and all the love and cuddles. And whenever the time comes, there is a fantastic cat lady on the other side of the rainbow waiting for her, my grandma!
 
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Francesca78

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Hi everyone,
Sorry I went missing for a few days but a lot has happened. While little Virginia (the FelV+ kitty) is doing well, I have unfortunately found out that Contessina, one of my other kitties (7 months old) has, very likely, FIP. We are waiting for the results tomorrow but we did already blood tests and echography and all points to that. I am distraught. I feel helpless and guilty because I wonder if I did the right thing to take them all with me. Maybe if they stayed in the countryside where they were born, they would have been better. Perhaps a one-cat household would have better for them.

I know that there are black-market treatments for FIP but I can't afford them, plus I heard they are far from safe because of the origin of the medication.

All I can do is love her until the end, cuddle her and show her she is special, because she is.

I understand that, often, it's all down to "luck." I mean, I had a very healthy cat who lived for 18 and a half years. And even his brother, who died younger at 10, was very much healthy for all his life, besides the last 8 weeks of his life. I suppose I am catching up now...
While I have no intention to give up my four kitties, I am coming to terms with the fact that, perhaps, I won't have any others after they cross the rainbow. I don't think I can handle the pain of loss and, even more than that, seeing them sick.

Thanks for the support,

Francesca
 

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Hi Francesca,

I'm so sorry to read what you're going through with Virginia, and now with this other cat, Contessina, with FIP.

Now you're second guessing your decision to rescue them all, you're wondering whether all these kittens would have been better off if they were left on their own in the countryside.
This is the kind thought is what hit me a few times, whenever one of the kitties I had rescued got sick and died. I always blamed myself for this, I always thought that my intervention had changed that kitty's path of life, to the worse, of course.
Nobody can tell you or me if our intervention was the cause of the sickness of that kitten. It may be, or it may be not.
But this won't stop me from doing the same thing in the future. Could I live with the regret for leaving them alone, in the cold, fighting or desperately looking for food? Could you?

Yes, there this black market therapy for FIP, yes it's expensive, but it's also true that the price of this experimental medicine has dropped a lot lately. You might find some help from friends, family, a fund raising plan.
The medicine is safe, as far as I know.

As for the future, you say you won't have any more cats once that these ones go to the bridge, and it's the same thing that I said when some of my previous cats left me, but here I, with two young cats. And the same thing is what other people thought and did.
You're not alone in this.

All the best.
 
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