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    Help!! 6 week old kitten with a heart murmur!!
    hotkatt posted:
    I recently took my then 6 week old kitten to the vet and was told he has a slight heart murmur. The vet said she doesn't know if he was born with it or if its because the mother cat was infested with fleas and he was infested with fleas since birth. I'm just concerned because he is running around like a "nut" and he goes from one thing to another. He doesn't have a problem playing or eating at all. I've never had a kitten before is this normal for kittens to do that? The vet said that he may outgrow the heart murmut but she doesn't know for sure. Also the vet did a feline leukemia test and he was on the border for it as the test showed he had it but it was only a little bit.
    Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
    OK, there's more than one issue here. If this cat tested positive for Feline Leukemia, that's serious. Most tests detect virus circulating in the bloodstream so a positive test means he has Feline Leukemia, no matter how "positive" the test was. It's possible that he'll eventually overcome the disease but for now, positive is positive. Feline Leukemia can cause anemia, which can result in a heart murmur if severe enough. Not sure what fleas has to do with it, other than that a severe flea infestation can also cause anemia. Is he anemic? If not, the heart murmur is caused by something else.

    Heart murmurs are caused by turbulence as the blood flows through the heart. This can be a heart problem (such as a deformed valve or a problem with the heart muscle) but is often caused by other things, such as anemia, fever, hypertension, etc. These need to be looked at first but if there's nothing else wrong with him, an ultrasound of his heart (echocardiogram) will tell you if there's something inherently wrong with his heart.

    While this needs to be addressed at some point, your other cat's possible diabetes is more urgent and should be dealt with first. Make sure she has been tested and vaccinated for Feline Leukemia if your other cat tested positive.

    Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
    The Cat Doctor
    Board Certified in Feline Practice
    AnnaElyse replied to Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP's response:
    I second the recommendation of vaccinating your other kitty, as Feline Leukemia can be fatal and is extremely contageous.
    srstephanie replied to AnnaElyse's response:
    Actually, while Feline Leukemia (FeLV) is extremely contagious to KITTENS ... adult cats have a natural immunity to FeLV. They can still become infected, so it is a good idea to vaccinate a cat that is living with an FeLV positive cat. But, it is relatively difficult to infect an otherwise healthy adult cat. A retrovirus researcher at NC State has suggested that on a scale of 1-10 with ten as most susceptible and 1 as least susceptible to FeLV infection ... a kitten is a 10 and an adult cat over about 8 months of age (i.e. when the immune system is mature) is a 1.5 on the ten point scale. The adult can still be infected with repeated exposure, but it is much more difficult to infect an adult. Whereas, kittens with immature immune systems are extremely susceptible.

    For that reason, the authors of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) Feline Vaccination Guidelines "strongly recommend" that ALL KITTENS be vaccinated for FeLV (the recombinant FeLV vaccine is preferred). I have spoken to one of the co-authors who has said it was their intention that FeLV vaccines be "Core" for all kittens because they are so very susceptible if they are exposed. However, the FeLV vaccine is formally classified as "Non-Core" for adults ... so that it is only necessary if there is a significant known risk of exposure ... as would be true in this case.

    Stephanie in Montreal
    whitekristen responded:
    and yes .. kittens are VERY playful and will act like a "nut" for quite some time

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