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FLV+ Update and Interesting Findings

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I posted last week about my FLV+ cats in a 13 cat household. After much reading and consultation with a cat specialist, here are some interesting findings. Sorry for the length, but a lot was eye opening to me.

- Cats that test positive to FLV will not always succumb to the illness. If exposed to FLV, a cat may test positive, and have about a 35% chance of gaining immunity (e.g. lose it eternally from their system). This does not apply to kittens and senior cats, which do not have the immunity strength to fight it off successfully.
- The FLV vacination is only about 60% effective of preventing your cat from contracting the virus from an infected cat. The vaccine companies sell their vaccines as being 100% effective, and all the literature on the Internet says "something less than 100%".
- The standard ELISA test that most vets use to screen for FLV can offer both false positives and false negatives. Never put your cat down on a single ELISA positive test, unless there are other compelling clinical symptoms that the cat has FLV.
- If you cat tests positive with the ELISA test, ask for an IFA test. ELISA tests for antigens in their system (e.g. the stuff that cats create to fight off the virus), not for the virus itself. The IFA test is more expensive, must be sent out to a lab, but actually looks for virus particles in the white blood cells. Your cat really doesn't have FLV unless it tests IFA positive.
- IFA positive cats shed the virus to other cats. In a multi-cat household, keep IFA positive cats with IFA positive cats and IFA negative cats with IFA negative cats. DO NOT INTERMINGLE!
- Kittens that aquire FLV from their mother prior to birth will virtually always be IFA positive, and will have close to 100% mortality rate within the first year to year and a half.
- Adult cats (not seniors) that are IFA positive can live a fully normal life. IFA positive cats are the ones that can acquire the true FLV clinical symptoms. They can also remain symptom free for a long time, provided they stay otherwise healthy, eat well and are stress free.
- If one of your cats in a multi-cat household tests positive to ELISA, test all cats. If the positive is also IFA positive, separate them, and don't declare your house FLV free until you have retested all of your cats after 30 days. Exposure to FLV does not always show up in ELISA for a few days. You need 2 negative tests 30 days apart on all cats in your household.

Here's an update on my cats:
Hendrix (10 months old) was seriously ill with FLV when I first brought him to the vet. He went from healthy to seriously ill in about 3 days. With no recovery option and being critically ill, I had to put him down. Morrison, his litter mate, tested positive (at 2 separate times), and got all of the same signs as his brother. Rather than prolonging his suffering, I also put him down. Ruby, age 3 tested positive on ELISA and we are waiting on the IFA results. Since Ruby is otherwise healthy, if positive on IFA, I will try to place him in a single cat or IFA positive home.

My other 10 babies have all tested negative on ELISA. I will retest them in a month before I will mix the 12 week olds with the adult cats. Kittens at 12 weeks have no chance of fighting the disease and will go full FLV if exposed.

Wish me luck on Ruby's IFA and my retest in 30 days. In the meantime, I will be stressin' out.
post #2 of 10
OMG - MOM - I am so sorry to hear this. Of course postitive prayers coming your way.
post #3 of 10
Hi, good luck with your kitty. Let me know if you need anything...I'm in rescue and work exclusively with FeLV+ cats. If you have any questions or concerns, let me know and I can try to help.
post #4 of 10
HI Mom of many..I am soooo sorry to hear what you are going thru... Please keep us posted..and Try to relax..I know it's easier said than done, but try..We just went thru a hard couple of weeks with a kitten with Panleukapenia (distemper..) And then the vet came back saying it could be LEukemia..But she has tested neg in a few blood tests...Thank you for all the info on it..It sure opened my eyes on alot of things..

I will keep good thots for you and your cats...


post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
My Ruby's IFA test came out positive. I am now trying to find him another home, preferably in another FLV+ household. I have 10 other negative babies to stay concerned about.

Thanks all for your kind thoughts....any help on finding placement services for special needs cats would be appreciated!!!!
post #6 of 10
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I needed that hug! :-~
post #8 of 10
Find a good home vibes coming your way!
post #9 of 10
post #10 of 10
((((((( good vibes & hugssss!! )))))))
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