Hartmann, Katrin (November 2012): Clinical Aspects of Feline Retroviruses: A Review. In: Viruses, Vol. 4, Nr. 11: S. 2684-2710




Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are retroviruses with global impact on the health of domestic cats. The two viruses differ in their potential to cause disease. FeLV is more pathogenic, and was long considered to be responsible for more clinical syndromes than any other agent in cats. FeLV can cause tumors (mainly lymphoma), bone marrow suppression syndromes (mainly anemia), and lead to secondary infectious diseases caused by suppressive effects of the virus on bone marrow and the immune system. Today, FeLV is less commonly diagnosed than in the previous 20 years; prevalence has been decreasing in most countries. However, FeLV importance may be underestimated as it has been shown that regressively infected cats (that are negative in routinely used FeLV tests) also can develop clinical signs. FIV can cause an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome that increases the risk of opportunistic infections, neurological diseases, and tumors. In most naturally infected cats, however, FIV itself does not cause severe clinical signs, and FIV-infected cats may live many years without any health problems. This article provides a review of clinical syndromes in progressively and regressively FeLV-infected cats as well as in FIV-infected cats.