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.
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