- Feline sarcoma viruses (FeSV) arise through recombination of FeLV with parts of the host cell genome. This results in the formation of recombinant viruses which have deletions rendering them unable to replicate without the help of wild-type FeLV, but which contain a cellular oncogene and are capable of causing tumours, mainly of fibroblastic cells.
- FeSV has been reported world-wide but is rare. FeSV tumours are seen only in cats persistently infected with FeLV. As the tumours contain FeLV and FeSV, the tumours are transmissible experimentally, but there is no evidence that natural cat-to-cat transmission occurs. FeSV is found almost entirely in the tumour itself, and only wild-type FeLV is shed from affected cats.
- Tumours appear usually as multiple, ulcerative or nodular, non-healing skin lesions, which recur after surgical excision. Metastasis to internal organs may occur late in the course of the disease. All affected cats are FeLV antigenaemic Unlike spontaneous fibrosarcomas of cats, which are usually solitary and seen in older cats, most FeSV-induced tumours are seen in cats 1-7 years old.
- Diagnosis is usually based on history, FeLV status and histological confirmation of fibrosarcoma, although complete confirmation of the diagnosis requires extensive laboratory studies.
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