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Oh poo!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I have been working for months to help a lady spay/neuter the cats she has been feeding in her yard. Every single cat has been healthy, not even any worms (which is almost unbelievable).

Today I took in the last female, who appeared to be pregnant. She came back worm-free just like her mom and siblings, but tested positive for FeLK! I know it is possible that she has leukemia, but the fact that not a single one of the other cats tested positive for anything, makes me question the validity of the test results. Also, this is the most gentle cat of the bunch. The lady said that she has never seen her fight with another cat.

I have asked the lady to keep her inside for now. We will re-test in 6 weeks to see if the cat still tests positive.

What do y'all think? Does it sound likely that she could be the only cat in a large colony who has leukemia??? Could her being pregnant (or having a false pregnancy) mess up a FeLK test?
post #2 of 7
Depends on how long she has been in the colony. And if the colony gets along with each other, then fighting and passing this disease wouldn't have been an issue. Sorry to hear about the testing though, maybe it was a mistake
post #3 of 7
I think you are doing the right thing...especially if this one cat doesn't seem to show any symptoms. You can go back and retest.


post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
She was born into the colony, so she has lived with the same cats her entire life (she is about 3 years old). While I am sure there are un-related males who visited the colony before the females were spayed, the non-family members were never around enough for the lady to ever be aware of them. In fact, in previous litters there was strong evidence of inbreeding (horrifically deformed kittens) which is what convinced her (finally) that the cats needed to be fixed.
post #5 of 7
I think it is very possible she could be the only one. If she mated with a male that had it - sex in cats is a violent act in itself (another reason to spay and neuter but I'm preaching to the choir). And from my experience last summer with FeLV, one queen had it and did pass it on to her offspring. The rest of the colony was clean. From the mouth of a country vet: some cats just are prone to get it and others don't.
post #6 of 7
Renae, I think your suggestion is the right thing to do. I'm sending up a prayer it was a false positive. But if not (knock wood), as all the other cats have tested negative, then we'd have to assume that Amy's right and she got it fro a passing male that's not part of the colony.
post #7 of 7
On the bright side: If this cat got it from a passing infected Tom, she could still be in the stage where she has been exposed but has not fully contracted the disease. Cornell web site says (doing this from memory) that only about 25% of cats exposed will contract the full blown disease. The rest successfully fight it off.

A "false positive" is a misleading term. A cat exposed to it can show positive, as the Elisa tests for antibodies, not the actual virus in their blood. Showing positive means exposure, not the disease itself. The ISA test does the blood virus test, and the only way that you can truly confirm a positive is thru the ISA. Since this has to be sent out to a lab and is more expensive, most people don't run it (my vet discounted the test for me at $38).

The reason why you wait 30-90 days (depending on who you read) for a repeat test is to determine if the cat has not fought off the initial exposure. Typically this happens in 30 days or less, which is why some sites say retest at 30 days and others say longer (as a precaution).

So if your colony is clean, and this girl has had exposure, the odds are on her side that she will fight it off. I hope so!!!!!
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