FeLV and FIV: testing... diagnosing... preventing (Proceedings) - Veterinary Healthcare


FeLV and FIV: testing... diagnosing... preventing (Proceedings)


Among healthy cats with a positive ELISA test for either FeLV or FIV, follow-up testing is recommended. The clinician should repeat the ELISA test in 1 to 3 months. As noted in Figure 1, waiting 1-3 months is justified in healthy cats with a positive test considering the possibility that the infection is early (transient) and a protective neutralizing antibody may still develop. Alternatively, the indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) could be submitted in an attempt to confirm infection. As many as 80% of FeLV-positive cats will die within 3 years from illness associated with the infection.

The ELISA-based FIV antibody test is not a confirmatory test. Confirmation of infection is predicated on a positive Western blot assay. In contrast to FeLV, the FIV-infected cat may live for months or years with its infection; early detection and treatment of associated illness will enhance longevity and quality of life.

Cats infected with either FeLV or FIV are considered to be shedding virus. As such, strong precautions are recommended to prevent unnecessary exposure to healthy, susceptible cats.

Suggested Reading

1. Levy JK: CVT Update: feline immunodeficiency virus In, JD Bonagura (ed): Current Veterinary Therapy XIII. WB Saunders, Philadephia. pp. 284-288, 2000.

2001 Report of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and Academy of Feline Medicine Advisory Panel on Feline Retrovirus Testing and Management. [available from: AAFP/AFM, 530 Chruch Street, Suite 700, Nahsville, TN 37219].

3. Leutenegger CM, Klein D, Hofmann-Lehmann R, et al: Rapid feline immunodeficiency virus provirus quantitiation by polymerase chain reaction using the TaqMan® florigenic real-time detection system. Journal of Virological Methods. 78:105-116, 1999.

4. Zenger E: FIP, FeLV, and FIV: making a diagnosis. Feline Pract. 28:16-18, 2000.

5. Hartmann K: Feline immunodeficiency virus infection-an overview. Vet J. 155:123-157, 1998.

6. Hartmann K. Feline leukemia infection. In CE Greene (ed). Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat. Saunders-Elsevier, St Louis. pp. 105-131, 2006.


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