Progressive infection with feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) is considered one of the major risk factors for development of feline lymphoma. The aim of this study was to compare cats with lymphoma between 1980 and 1994 (first period) and between 1995 and 2009 (second period) concerning FeLV antigenaemia and age distribution. In addition, differences between FeLV antigen-positive and antigen-negative cats with lymphoma regarding patients' characteristics, tumour location and outcome were evaluated. There was a significant decrease in the percentage of lymphoma cases associated with progressive FeLV infection from the first (59 per cent) to the second (13 per cent) observation period. FeLV antigen-positive cats were significantly younger (median 3.7 v 11.3 years), and had significantly shorter response duration (median 25 days v 472 days) with therapy. In the cats of the second period, gastrointestinal and extranodal lymphomas were the most common anatomical sites, and the majority of those cats were FeLV antigen-negative. Thus, other aetiologies than progressive FeLV infection must have a greater impact on cancerogenesis among affected cats with lymphoma to date.
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