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Feline Leukemia Tests

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Has anyone had a kitten that initially tested negative for feline leukemia and then positive for it later?

Two weeks ago, the fella brought home a new kitten (without my knowledge or consent) The woman who had the kittens said that she needed to find homes for the "7 week old kittens" because the mom was ill.

The conditions that the cat and the people lived in, I think clouded his visual judgment on how old the kitten actually was. She sure wasn't 7 weeks old.

I took her to the vet immediately and she tested negative for feline Leukemia, but the vet said that sometimes cats can test negative for it and then positive later. So I must keep her separate from the other cats, which is generally advisable anyway because of her tiny size.

In that time frame, of course, we've bonded to the kitten and enjoyed watching her grow. When she first arrived, she was probably about 25 days old, according to the vet. Still needed stimulation to pee and poop. Now she knows how to use the litter box and sucks down a good amount of food. She's gaining weight. Started out as a 12 oz kitty and now weighs over a pound, but still small.

I have to take her back after Christmas to get re-tested and I will be crushed if it turns out she does in fact test positive for FeLV. I understand that statistically, nothing is 100%. In fact, even though the other cats receive vaccinations for FeLV, I was advised to keep the kitten separate because the vaccines aren't 100% guarenteed.

The kitten, Simone, is adorable, feisty, playful, bright eyed and a real problem solver (which makes the containment issue more challenging). The other cats are curious, but keep their distance from the bouncing, darting, mewing kitten they see and just look at her across the barrier of cereal boxes, cardboard boxes and such that I have as a playpen "fence".

Needless to say, there's been a lot of time and effort to get her nuitrition she needs when she should still be nursing, but also significant enjoyment. I'll be so sad if she turns out to be infected.

I e-mailed the woman who gave away the kitten (on Craigslist) and she insisted the kitten was 7 weeks but then also claimed that the mother did have feline Leukemia. My vet knows this, but said that sometimes the kittens don't get it from their mothers. It could be that the woman just made it up, as she did the kitten's age.
post #2 of 14
I had a cat several years ago that tested negative for Feline Leukemia three times when he was showing symptoms of it. Then about a month later, he tested positive, but was in the last days of his life by that point.
post #3 of 14
Young kittens can test negative at first then turn positive later. If the mother definitely had FeLV, there is a very high chance that the kitten has it. The kitten was clearly exposed to it, but the real question is whether the kitten is strong enough to fight it off. I had a litter of 4 kittens whose mom was positive (she was feral). Of those kittens, 3 out of 4 contracted the disease.

You will need to wait a while before you know for sure. It sometimes takes about 60 days for them to ward it off if they are able to. And to be absolutely certain, ask your vet to run an IFA test to follow up on the Elisa test. The Elisa test only tests for exposure and not the full blown disease. Only the IFA test will prove one way or the other whether it made it into their blood stream.

I'll send that the kitten is strong enough to fight this off!
post #4 of 14
It's possible for a kitten to test negative and then positive.
It's also possible for a kitten to test positive and then negative.
http://www.sheltermedicine.com/porta...ine_felv.shtml
Regarding your kitten, hopefully she won't be positive.
The woman who gave you the kitten might not even know what her cat actually had, considering the situation you described. How likely would it be that the woman actually took her cat to be tested?
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
Young kittens can test negative at first then turn positive later. If the mother definitely had FeLV, there is a very high chance that the kitten has it. The kitten was clearly exposed to it, but the real question is whether the kitten is strong enough to fight it off. I had a litter of 4 kittens whose mom was positive (she was feral). Of those kittens, 3 out of 4 contracted the disease.

You will need to wait a while before you know for sure. It sometimes takes about 60 days for them to ward it off if they are able to. And to be absolutely certain, ask your vet to run an IFA test to follow up on the Elisa test. The Elisa test only tests for exposure and not the full blown disease. Only the IFA test will prove one way or the other whether it made it into their blood stream.

I'll send that the kitten is strong enough to fight this off!
Thank you. I sure hope as well that she remains negative. It's certainly a good thing that it is negative now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniferd View Post
It's possible for a kitten to test negative and then positive.
It's also possible for a kitten to test positive and then negative.
http://www.sheltermedicine.com/porta...ine_felv.shtml
Regarding your kitten, hopefully she won't be positive.
The woman who gave you the kitten might not even know what her cat actually had, considering the situation you described. How likely would it be that the woman actually took her cat to be tested?
It could be that the woman has no idea. She spelled it "lucimea" for one thing. I understand that phonetically, that might have made sense, but I wondered the same about her capacity to care for her adult cat. The fella said the mother looked healthy and behaved normally. A sympathy story about the mom not being able to care for the kittens would certainly play well with potential adopters.

According to my fella, it didn't look like the woman could afford pet food, let alone vet care of any sort. So hopefully she just made that up.

The kitten is currently bathing after a hearty dinner of KMR mixed with water and canned food.
post #6 of 14
I wonder if the woman even realizes that feline leukemia is infectious.
Leukemia is not infectious in humans, maybe she thinks it ain't in cats either. Cause telling people your cat has leukemia and hoping they would adopt the kitten doesn't sound like such a bright idea to me, considering it's an infectious disease.
Anyways, how would she know what her cat got unless she took the cat to the vet to be tested? Considering the cat is not-spayed, how likely would that be?
Certainly you are right to be concerned, but hopefully the kitten will stay negative and the mother doesn't have it.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniferd View Post
I wonder if the woman even realizes that feline leukemia is infectious.
Leukemia is not infectious in humans, maybe she thinks it ain't in cats either. Cause telling people your cat has leukemia and hoping they would adopt the kitten doesn't sound like such a bright idea to me, considering it's an infectious disease.
Anyways, how would she know what her cat got unless she took the cat to the vet to be tested? Considering the cat is not-spayed, how likely would that be?
Certainly you are right to be concerned, but hopefully the kitten will stay negative and the mother doesn't have it.
Agreed. I'm taking Simone back to the vet for her 2 week check up after Christmas and they will re-test her then.

She didn't tell my man that the cat had the disease, she just said that the momcat wasn't well. He brought her home anyway, even though we have other cats.

He gave me the woman's e-mail address so that I could ask her. That's when she told me. So my vet tested the kitten knowing that the owner of the mom cat had indicated that she had it.

I have to say that I've seen a lot of people more educated than this lady be terrible pet owners... so like you I'm hoping that she just didn't know any better, maybe did an Internet search and for whatever reason came up with FeLV as the disease her cat had. I suspect that she didn't want kittens under foot.

Keeping kitten clean is like caring for a newborn human, by the way. We simply cannot do the same job that mom cats can. I've been using warm water and a tissue to keep her clean. Her bottom stinks a little though. The reason I know this is because she keeps presenting it to me....

I don't know if I should butt bath her with soap yet. Someone once used the phrase "animated cactus" to refer to kittens who are being subjected to something they don't care for. She does let me bath her with the water, but if I can't get her rinsed, she'll get irritated skin.

Plus she's so tiny, I worry about chilling her.
This is her a few days ago:
post #8 of 14
She looks like a cute long haired tabby.
Still has her blue baby eyes.
post #9 of 14
aw, isn't she a little doll!!

I adopt leukemia positive kitties for a living and I have actually had a situation where I adopted 3 littermates that were positive, the other 2 in the litter were negative and the mother was negative that was a weird one!

To answer you initial question, yes, a cat can test negative and than later re-test positive unfortunately. I can't give you any advice, but I can give you lots and lots of vibes that Simone is negative! if you have any other questions, feel free to PM anytime.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenniferd View Post
She looks like a cute long haired tabby.
Still has her blue baby eyes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post
aw, isn't she a little doll!!

I adopt leukemia positive kitties for a living and I have actually had a situation where I adopted 3 littermates that were positive, the other 2 in the litter were negative and the mother was negative that was a weird one!

To answer you initial question, yes, a cat can test negative and than later re-test positive unfortunately. I can't give you any advice, but I can give you lots and lots of vibes that Simone is negative! if you have any other questions, feel free to PM anytime.
She is very cute. Her eyes are now turning hazel. She is a long-haired tabby. Her fur has white tips. She has enormous paws compared to her size and long legs.

And she's a sweetie. She still does that little sucking thing when she sleeps. She seems really happy and comfortable with us. I too hope for the best.
post #11 of 14
I will keep my fingers crossed for her - a lot of FeLV+ queens struggle to carry litters, so fingers crossed the lady got the wrong name.
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by booktigger View Post
I will keep my fingers crossed for her - a lot of FeLV+ queens struggle to carry litters, so fingers crossed the lady got the wrong name.
And the kitten also appears healthy, so that's a good sign.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
So by virtue of the fact that the litter was born, might indicate that the queen didn't have FeLV....I hope so.

She's so active. Gums are healthy pink. No sick symptoms. She's eating proportionately more as she grows.

[IMG][/IMG]
post #14 of 14
she is really cute.
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