TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Feline Leukemia test question......
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Feline Leukemia test question......

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Kitchi has been tested, Kizzy has not..... we attempted to, but to draw blood we would have to sedate him to get it done..... and Kizzy would return a false positive due to vaccination.

I now have Kizzy's brother, who has only had 1 set of shots which did not include the leukemia vaccine.

My question: If I got Kizzy's brother tested, and it came back negative.... is there a good chance that Kizzy would be negative as well?

I know it wouldn't be a certainty or anything, but my thoughts were that his brother has the same parents, so if he's negative, Kizzy should be as well (since I don't think there's a way to get an accurate test result from kizzy since he's been vaccinated).

Thx.
post #2 of 26
Feluk vaccines will NOT return a false positive. There should be no worry about that. The only real guarantee is to have the cat tested but if his brother tests negative he most likely will as well. That's because Feluk isn't as easy to transmit as people think. Typically, Feluk cats spread the disease through grooming, that's why there are colonies of Feluk cats. I learned all this when one of my indoor cats got out and came in contact with a known Feluk stray. They touched noses but the illness was not spread.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
Feluk vaccines will NOT return a false positive. There should be no worry about that.
hmmmm, I thought I read somewhere that the vaccines can cause false positives on the Elisa test...... I'll have to check that out some more

Thanks for the info It would be so much easier to just test his brother, but if I need to test Kizzy too, I will..... it's just quite a bit harder because of his health issues (if I can avoid sedating, and lowering his immune system, I will...)

I'm not too terribly concerned about the testing, and plan on talking to my vet about it as to whether I get NoName tested or not.
post #4 of 26
FeLV shouldn't return a false postive. You'd have to test them both to know for sure, as they haven't been living together for the past while.
post #5 of 26
FIV will return a false positive and the tests are done together so that may be where the confusion arose. All those letters get jumbled in my head I know that!
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
FeLV shouldn't return a false postive. You'd have to test them both to know for sure, as they haven't been living together for the past while.
they haven't lived together at all. NoName has the same parents as Kizzy, but different litter. I just thought/hoped that if I tested the lil one, I'd have some "idea" about Kizzy. I know nothing is for sure tho (if I don't test Kizzy).

Quote:
Originally Posted by howtoholdacat View Post
FIV will return a false positive and the tests are done together so that may be where the confusion arose. All those letters get jumbled in my head I know that!
ahhhhh, ok..... Yup, it is quite confusing....all I remembered was "false positive" and "elisa test".

Thx guys
post #7 of 26
couple questions: Kizzy has tested negative in the past? and has been vaccinated since the negative test? I just ask because usually the vax will not be administered without a negative test. ok, 3 questions: has Kizzy regularly come into contact with untested kitties? if yes to the first 2 and no to the last, then I would not worry about re-testing him, but would definitely recommend testing NoName before he enters the household
post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post
couple questions: Kizzy has tested negative in the past? and has been vaccinated since the negative test? I just ask because usually the vax will not be administered without a negative test. ok, 3 questions: has Kizzy regularly come into contact with untested kitties? if yes to the first 2 and no to the last, then I would not worry about re-testing him, but would definitely recommend testing NoName before he enters the household
- Kizzy has never been tested.
- Yes he has been vaccinated. I guess they do it without the testing here. The only reason I know bout the testing is because when Pax was ill, we tested both Pax and Kitchi, but we couldn't test Kizzy at the time....(we tried, but he needs to be sedated to do so).
- Kitchi has been tested (negative) and vaccinated.
- NoName has not been tested yet and has been vaccinated (he has had one set of shots, but not the leukemia shot)

After a quarentine period, Kizzy will come in contact with NoName who has already entered my home.

Hope that helps. I tried to make it as least confusing as possible.
post #9 of 26
Hmm, well, did Kizzy go straight from his previous home, which I'm assuming is the breeder's? straight to yours? If so and if NoName can be easily tested and tests negative than I really wouldn't worry about testing Kizzy, but that's just my opinion.
post #10 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post
Hmm, well, did Kizzy go straight from his previous home, which I'm assuming is the breeder's? straight to yours? If so and if NoName can be easily tested and tests negative than I really wouldn't worry about testing Kizzy, but that's just my opinion.
Yes, Kizzy came straight here..... and Yes NoName should be alot easier to test but definately safer to test (due to Kizzy being a chronic URI carrier...the less stress, the better for him)

as well as 3 is my personal amount of cats. I will not be getting any more, unless something were to happen.

They are not exposed to other cats either.

ETA: if NoName tests positive, I would take the risks and have Kizzy tested as well.
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake_Lady View Post
ETA: if NoName tests positive, I would take the risks and have Kizzy tested as well.
I think this would be the best course of action FeLV really is a rare disease and if NoName is negative coming from the same household even though months apart then I would garner that FeLV is not present in that home and kizzy is safe
post #12 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post
I think this would be the best course of action FeLV really is a rare disease and if NoName is negative coming from the same household even though months apart then I would garner that FeLV is not present in that home and kizzy is safe
Yup....

Kizzy would have been done on June 23rd when Pax and Kitchi were done, but 3 of us could not contain him enough to draw the blood Hence him needing to be sedated, which is not good because of his chronic carrier status.

So if I can be relatively safe with "assuming" Kizzy is neg. by only testing NoName (who really needs a name ) who spent 3mos in the same house Kizzy came from, same parents (whom are getting fixed THANKFULLY), then I'll be happy.

Of course I will ask the vet as well..... today's appt is kinda rushed, but I'm back their in 2 wks anyways.
post #13 of 26
I hope Snake Lady doesn't mind me butting in and asking some FeLV test questions myself...

Are there false negatives? How common is that?

What does it mean if a cat is a FeLV carrier?
Can that cat become sick/show symptoms again?
Can that cat ever infect other cats?
Will the cat test positive or negative?

If a former stray has lived indoors for 5+ years and appears healthy, is it safe to assume she is FeLV- ?
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissKalamata View Post
I hope Snake Lady doesn't mind me butting in and asking some FeLV test questions myself...

Are there false negatives? How common is that?

What does it mean if a cat is a FeLV carrier?
Can that cat become sick/show symptoms again?
Can that cat ever infect other cats?
Will the cat test positive or negative?

If a former stray has lived indoors for 5+ years and appears healthy, is it safe to assume she is FeLV- ?
these are common concerns for cat owners so I'm sure she won't mind

False negatives: The jury is still out on these; me, personally do not think they are all that common, I belong to the school of thought that believes that the leukemia virus can "hide" in the bone marrow and that is what makes an earlier positive cat turn negative, subsequent tests may reveal the cat is positive again. I have personally experienced a couple cases like this. It is also believed that adult cats can fight off the initial infection, but this is very unlikely in the case of kittens

A FeLV carrier means that the cat is persistently infected with the feline leukemia virus and has the potential to infect other cats as well as develop primary and secondary complications.

In my experience, while FeLV positive cats are more likely to catch colds and other URI type illness, these can be easily treated. They may require a stronger dose of anti-biotic and a longer regiment, but they will not die from a simple cold if proper vet care is administered. There are many things that an FeLV cat is extra-susceptible to: cancer, stomatitis and other mouth related issues and anemia. What I believe is the main killer of FeLV cats and thus the reason it is called leukemia when it is not anything like human leukemia is a disease where the bone marrow stops producing red blood cells (I cannot remember the proper term for it, sorry!) this causes the cat to become extremely anemic, lose their appetite and therefore weight and basically waste away Blood transfusions can extend the kittie's life, but only a bone marrow transplant will cure them and I'm sure you can guess how rare those are.

Cats who are FeLV positive are always able to infect other cats, they can not be cured and will always test positive.

If this indoor cat has never been tested negative previously, or has and then was exposed to cats of unknown status, it is never safe to assume that they are negative. Like I said earlier, FeLV is really a a rare disease, estimated to be found only in approximately 3% of the cat population, but it is nothing to mess around with. Regardless of appearance, a cat could be infected with FeLV. All my cats have FeLV and they are gorgeous and healthy-looking until it is their time

Well that's probably more than you ever wanted to know about FeLV
post #15 of 26
Thanks for the informative reply! When I got the email notification of a reply, my first thought was "I hope it's Katiemae because of how knowledgeable she is." I'm glad I was right!

Quote:
I belong to the school of thought that believes that the leukemia virus can "hide" in the bone marrow and that is what makes an earlier positive cat turn negative
So a FeLV+ cat can have no symptoms, appear perfectly healthy, etc? Would it be wise to have a cat tested twice before bringing him into contact with negative cats?

Quote:
It is also believed that adult cats can fight off the initial infection
And the cat will be a carrier for life? Can the symptoms reappear later?

Quote:
If this indoor cat has never been tested negative previously, or has and then was exposed to cats of unknown status, it is never safe to assume that they are negative.
I thought most FeLV+ cats don't live past 5...hence an untested cat who has lived more than 5 years indoors would be unlikely to have FeLV.

Thanks for the answers!
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MissKalamata View Post
Thanks for the informative reply! When I got the email notification of a reply, my first thought was "I hope it's Katiemae because of how knowledgeable she is." I'm glad I was right!
Well thanks! It's a knowledge born of necessity unfortunately. The trouble with leukemia is that different institutions, respected institutions even, have conflicting info. I take what's been researched and then apply my own personal experience to it

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissKalamata View Post
So a FeLV+ cat can have no symptoms, appear perfectly healthy, etc? Would it be wise to have a cat tested twice before bringing him into contact with negative cats?
exactly! if a person didn't know my cats were FeLV positive, they would never guess just by looking at them I may be biased but I think I have some of the most beautiful cats on the block

As for testing, if you test a cat and it come us negative, then I would feel very confident that the cat is indeed negative, remember, FeLV is a not commonly found. If you test a cat on the ELISA test, which is the in office saliva test and the results are positive, than I would recommend another test in 30-60 days with the IFA test, which is the sent away blood test which is a little more definitive (I think I got those right, I am forever mixing them up!) Now, sometimes there is no way that a person can keep a cat separated from other cats for 30-60 days, there just isn't a place. In the case of rescue groups or a TNR effort that does not have the resources to care for a FeLV cat or do not have a Katie to send them too than usually euthanasia is the answer and for that I do not harbor any ill will. I want this disease irradicated and the sooner the better and if there is no way to prevent exposure to other cats, than euthanasia may be the only solution. I believe it was Momofmany who said that the cat nation's fate outweighs that of one, or something close to that but I also very strongly believe that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissKalamata View Post
And the cat will be a carrier for life? Can the symptoms reappear later?
nope, if an adult cat fights of the infection, they do not have FeLV. I personally believe this is rare however, and does not prevent the cat from becoming infected from a different source in the future

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissKalamata View Post
I thought most FeLV+ cats don't live past 5...hence an untested cat who has lived more than 5 years indoors would be unlikely to have FeLV.

Thanks for the answers!
Again, pulling from my experience, this would be a reasonable assumption because it has been very rare for a cat in my care to even live to 5 years, I have had 2 definites and 1 maybe- the problem is that I don't really know how old my cats are when I get them- they are usually strays but we have a had a couple people come on here have a cat that was many years old suddenly test positive. I think that a cat's chances of survival depend a lot on when they were infected. A kitten that was either born with it or infected early on unfortunately doesn't really have a good chance at living past a year, but an adult could contract the disease at an older age and manage to live for many years more. I would say that if you have an indoor only cat, that has never come into contact with any "at risk" kitties, ie, indoor/outdoor kitties, strays, untested cats from a shelter or rescue, then you could *almost* definitively say that the cat is negative.
post #17 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post

As for testing, if you test a cat and it come us negative, then I would feel very confident that the cat is indeed negative, remember, FeLV is a not commonly found. If you test a cat on the ELISA test, which is the in office saliva test and the results are positive, than I would recommend another test in 30-60 days with the IFA test, which is the sent away blood test which is a little more definitive (I think I got those right, I am forever mixing them up!) .
I think you might have got them mixed up..

or I did LOL.

My vet did a bloodtest, in office, results in bout 15mins. I thought that was the ELISA test.

*runs off to google*
post #18 of 26
The case might be that the ELISA test is done with either saliva or blood? To be honest I don't do tests, I get them after they've been tested and the result is positive- I know one is a quickie in office and the other is tested at a lab- if your particular vet's office has a lab in house than it obviously does not have to be sent away, but is still not instantaneous

ETA: ok, I found this
Testing for FeLV has come a long ways in the past ten years. At the present time, nearly all small animal veterinarians have FeLV tests available right in their offices. Testing involves drawing about ½ cc of blood (1/10 teaspoon) from the cephalic vein in the front leg. This is a very non-invasive procedure. Actually most cats object more to the restraint than the actual blood drawing. The blood is processed according to the individual test protocol and the FeLV status can be determined in minutes. These in-office tests determine if antibodies to the FeLV are present. If the test is positive this means that there has been an exposure to FeLV and antibodies were produced by the cats’ body. If negative then no exposure has ever occurred and the cat can be vaccinated with good results.

If we find a positive, we then send a microscope slide containing a blood smear to a veterinary laboratory equipped to search for the actual virus. If no virus is found then we have a dilemma. The cat may either have been exposed to the FeLV and recovered with immunity or the virus may be lying latent in the bone marrow and caution must be taken in exposing the cat to any non-infected cats.

Perhaps the test used to be used with saliva? but the quickie is ELISA and send away is IFA
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post
The case might be that the ELISA test is done with either saliva or blood? To be honest I don't do tests, I get them after they've been tested and the result is positive- I know one is a quickie in office and the other is tested at a lab- if your particular vet's office has a lab in house than it obviously does not have to be sent away, but is still not instantaneous

ETA: ok, I found this
Testing for FeLV has come a long ways in the past ten years. At the present time, nearly all small animal veterinarians have FeLV tests available right in their offices. Testing involves drawing about ½ cc of blood (1/10 teaspoon) from the cephalic vein in the front leg. This is a very non-invasive procedure. Actually most cats object more to the restraint than the actual blood drawing. The blood is processed according to the individual test protocol and the FeLV status can be determined in minutes. These in-office tests determine if antibodies to the FeLV are present. If the test is positive this means that there has been an exposure to FeLV and antibodies were produced by the cats’ body. If negative then no exposure has ever occurred and the cat can be vaccinated with good results.

If we find a positive, we then send a microscope slide containing a blood smear to a veterinary laboratory equipped to search for the actual virus. If no virus is found then we have a dilemma. The cat may either have been exposed to the FeLV and recovered with immunity or the virus may be lying latent in the bone marrow and caution must be taken in exposing the cat to any non-infected cats.

Perhaps the test used to be used with saliva? but the quickie is ELISA and send away is IFA

LOL, I found http://www.sheltermedicine.com/documents/felv.pdf

The Elisa test can be done on both saliva (less accurate) or blood.

But my vet takes blood from the jugular vein.....
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snake_Lady View Post
LOL, I found http://www.sheltermedicine.com/documents/felv.pdf

The Elisa test can be done on both saliva (less accurate) or blood.

But my vet takes blood from the jugular vein.....
I'm not totally crazy then

the jugular?? I can see how that might be stressfull do you know why that is? I don't think I've ever had a vet take blood from there, my kitties always have a little spot shaved on their front leg when they get blood drawn
post #21 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post
I'm not totally crazy then

the jugular?? I can see how that might be stressfull do you know why that is? I don't think I've ever had a vet take blood from there, my kitties always have a little spot shaved on their front leg when they get blood drawn
ummmm, nope, no idea. But I can ask when I'm back in 2wks.

The kittens didn't seem to mind, but Kizzy HATES my vet. The sound of the clippers sends him wild. It really doesn't matter where the blood is drawn, it's the vet himself and the sound of the clippers that he's afraid of.

IF I have to get him tested, I'll try shaving him myself at home, and when I bring him to the office we'll use a different vet (there's several there). If that won't work, we'll sedate him.

Hopefully the kitten comes back negative (I'm testing him in 2wks, prior to his vaccines) and it will give me some peace of mind with Kizzy (I know its not guarenteed of course).

I want to have a full blood draw on Kizzy so I can find out exactly which virus he's a chronic carrier of....but I need to wait till he's healthy before I can do that.... (should have done it when he was neutered )

sorry for digressing.

But yes, I will ask the vet why he does the jugular as opposed to the front leg because now I'm curious....
post #22 of 26
Someone else's vet does blood from the jugular - I don't like it. Mine has always taken it from the front leg.
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
Someone else's vet does blood from the jugular - I don't like it. Mine has always taken it from the front leg.
I don't either, but at the time, I was not thinking straight and didn't ask why. ( it was when Pax was dying, both Kitchi and Pax were tested )

But I will definately ask about it. Since it doesn't seem to be the "norm" and if there's no difference, leg/jugular then I'd much rather the leg.
post #24 of 26
I was at the vet last Monday with Friday for his annual physical/blood work. They took the blood from his jugular because he is a very long haired black cat and they couldn't see the vein in his leg. That was my first experience with the jugular and I will say it was creepy to watch but they got the blood much faster that way.
post #25 of 26
When Zoey was sick, it appeared that they took blood from her neck as well at the first vet - not the vet I currently use.

I think mine does it from the leg though.
post #26 of 26
The important difference between the Elisa and IFA tests are this:

Whether the Elisa test uses saliva or blood, it is only testing for antibodies against the virus. Once a cat is exposed, they build up antibodies while their bodies try to fight the virus off. Testing positive thru an Elisa test only confirms that cat was exposed to the virus, not that they have full blown FeLV.

The IFA test looks for the virus within the blood components itself. Once there, they have full blown FeLV and will have it for life. These cats shed the virus to others (e.g. infect them).

A cat's body will take anywhere between 30 and 60 days to fight off the virus, during which time they can continue to test positive thru the Elisa.

Unless you know for certainty that the mother or all the siblings truly have FeLV, or if a cat is extremely ill and FeLV is highly suspected, I would never recommend euthanizing a cat that tests positive thru the Elisa.

Elisa is nothing but a good initial screening test. The fact that a cat can test positive and not have the disease itself (false positive) is not well know within the vet community.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Health
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Health › Feline Leukemia test question......