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FeLV/FIV testing?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Today I took a bunch of ferals to a low-cost spay/neuter clinic. One tested positive for both FeLV and FIV and was put to sleep. He didn't look very sickly, just a little scruffy (which I attributed to his tomcat-ness). I feel kind of bad because Alley Cat Allies does not support euthanizing FeLV/FIV positive cats who are not outwardly ill, and in fact they do not support testing ferals at all:

So, what are your views on the matter? Do you test/euthanize ferals for FeLV/FIV?
post #2 of 14
Given there is no shelter or place to go with FeLV or FIV + cats around here - I do euthanize them. I cannot safely keep them there. FIV+ I am not so concerned about, as it isn't so easily spread....but I cannot keep a FeLV+ cat in my home.
post #3 of 14
The clinic I work at is a feral friendly facility, so we spay/neuter probably about 3-4 ferals a week. We do not test every feral that comes in, only if it requested by whoever brought them in. Now if the cat shows obvious signs, we will test it. And if it's positive, we will euthanize, simply because the disease is obviously progressing and it's really for that cat's benefit, not to prevent the further spread. Of the cats we are requested to test that weren't showing outward signs I remember one being FELV positive. The occurrence of FIV and FELV is surprisingly low in feral colonies. Just a little higher than "domestic" felines. Because of this, it's my personal belief that there is no need to test unless it is suspected.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
I understand about not having a positive cat in your home, but what are your feelings about ACA's opinion about true ferals?
post #5 of 14
In many respects, I can see them being right - however - I do not like the idea of releasing a known FeLV or FIV+ cat - as altered or not - they are ferals & IMO more likely to get into fights....they are free roaming, so more likely to infect other cats than a domestic housecat.

As for the false positives - I can't argue with that. Yes - I do think that many cats are needlessly euthanized due to testing false positive - but I don't have a viable solution to that.
post #6 of 14
I only get my ferals tested if they look sick, or have fight wounds.

So far my colonies have all been very healthy so I'm not too worried. If they test positive, then yes, I will get them euthanised. I don't want any chance of it spreading through my colony. Once they start suffering from it, I have no way of helping them and don't want to prolong their suffering.
post #7 of 14
Five years ago I took in my first stray. I had him tested for FeLV before some major surgery. It came back negative. However a couple of months later he became ill and I wasn't sure what it was so I took him back to vet and they re-tested again and the FeLV was postive and he was put down shortly after. I then had to test my other cats but they were all ok.

Fast foward to early this month. Another stray but this time I suspected he was abandoned vs the 1st one who had been on his own for a while but was orginally a house cat. I again had the FeLV test done and it was negative.

My vet clinic did say that they are aware of strays coming in to the clinic and testing postive for FeLV. The test isn't all that expensive and I think if one plans on bringing a stray into the house with the others is a good thing to do for piece of mind.

But also remember I live in a rural area with man farms so that might have an influence on my decisions!!
post #8 of 14
We euthanize FeLV pos ferals to prevent the spread of the disease to other cats in the neighborhood. I don't ever like having to euthanize an animal, but I think it's probably best to go with the "for the good of the colony" philosophy on that one.
post #9 of 14
My view is the same as whiteforest's, I believe that testing should be done, at least for FeLV as it is so contagious and so deadly. FIV is hard to transmit and while it can shorten a cat's lifespan, it is not as bad as FeLV (IMO). I personally think it is very irresponsible not to get a cat FeLV tested, this is a horrible disease and it needs to be irradicated and if that means that they are euthanized, than so be it. Not every rescue has a me to turn to
post #10 of 14
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post
Not every rescue has a me to turn to
We can only dream of having more you's in the world!!!!
post #11 of 14
We had them tested initially when we were trapping, but the tests got expensive, and we never had a positive cat. The vets said it really hadn't been an issue in these parts they were aware of. So when we trapped in a new area, we'd have initial cats tested. Still haven't had one test positive, so VERY thankful for that. I really don't know what we would have done. I understand the "greater good" idea, but we were never confronted with the difficult decision.

post #12 of 14
If the colony is stable (in terms of size), I might test one or two, and if they aren't positive, then I wouldn't worry about the rest. The problem that I have with testing is that Elisa is not conclusive, and if they test positive thru that, it really doesn't prove that they have full blown FeLV. If you ask the vet to run an ISA (which does conclusively prove it), they have to send it to a lab and it could be days before the results are back. What would you do with a truly feral cat in the mean time?

When faced with FeLV within my household and in my feral colony many years ago, I had to make the decision between the "individual cat versus cat nation". At the time I chose cat nation, because I had run the ISA on some of them and knew that it had spread. It was one of the most difficult times of my life having to make that decision.
post #13 of 14
With my ferals, if they test positive, I euthanise them - it just isn't worth spreading it. They are all speutered now and no new ones have shown up so hopefully it wont be an issue.

Even at the shelter, we have only had a very small number test positive from the strays we have brought in. We had a few homes who would take them but they dont want anymore - I think we have one looking for a FeLV cat and thats it so we will have to see when one comes in - we only euthanise on the vets recommendation so I guess it also depends which of our vets they are taken in to
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. After seeing the ACA site I was thinking I broke a cardinal rule in feral cat caretaking or something. I still feel bad though. One day he was running around the neighborhood and then he goes for some yummy food in a trap and the next day he was gone . I just have to think that I saved him (and the other ferals) a lot of suffering.

If I had to pay for it I wouldn't test unless the cat looked sick. But since it was included in the price I thought testing would be a good idea.
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