Feline Leukemia is a dreaded and serious viral disease. It is contagious, but only from cat to cat. Cats transmit the disease to one another through shared water bowls and litter pans, grooming one another, bites, and mothers can transmit it to their babies. Symptoms of Feline Leukemia include lethargy, swollen lymph nodes, abscesses, diarrhea, fever, and anemia. While there is a vaccine for feline leukemia, mild and serious side effects from the vaccine are not uncommon.
Sometimes, side effects are comparatively mild. Swelling at the site of the vaccination, fever, lethargy and behavior changes are some of the milder reactions.
Reports From Earth Clinic Readers
Joann, from Atlanta, Georgia, reports to Earth Clinic, “My 5 year old cat received a feline leukemia booster yesterday. He was acting himself prior to the vaccine. I did this because I have a rescue cat which may be leukemia positive; because of this I have given boosters to the other cats. This morning, I found him hiding in the closet. He is growling and not very approachable. He will not eat now. I have never seen him like this.”
However, for other cats, one side effect of the vaccine is as serious as the disease the vaccine was given to prevent. One Earth Clinic contributor had a cat that developed a dangerous cancerous tumor, or sarcoma, at the site of the leukemia vaccine.
Avoiding Side Effects of the Leukemia Vaccine
Cats should be tested for the feline leukemia virus before they are given a vaccine for it. Indoor cats, who are not exposed to other cats, are unlikely to contract feline leukemia.
A sick cat should not be vaccinated. It is best to avoid vaccinating a cat in conjunction with a surgery. While it might mean one less trip to the vet, a cat that is recovering from surgery, and thus already under stress, is more likely to have side effects from a vaccine.
Treating Side Effects of the Feline Leukemia Vaccine
Thuja is a homeopathic remedy commonly given to pets when they have side effects from vaccinations.
Activated Charcoal Powder
Activated Charcoal Powder can be given for diarrhea, vomiting, and to detoxify from the vaccination.
- Mix 1/4 teaspoon of charcoal powder into some water and administer with a syringe.
- If the cat is eating, it can be mixed with wet food.
- This can be given every few hours.
A cat with vomiting or diarrhea should be monitored for dehydration. Giving small amounts of liquid by syringe very often may be necessary.
If the site of the vaccine becomes infected, colloidal silver can be sprayed on the area several times a day.
Honey is another safe topical treatment for a skin infection.
If your cat experiences side effects from the feline leukemia vaccine, please be sure to share your experience!