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FIV/Luekemia testing

pamha
August 1st, 2011, 02:27 AM
We took our cats in for a check up, and because we are planning on adopting a kitten, requested that they get whatever vaccines were required by the shelter for them to ok it. Our elderly cat (17) hasn`t had any shots for a couple of years, but we were told she needed the FVRCP at least. So ok, we did that. Then the shelter called us & said because she had been outdoors recently she needed a rabies, so back to the vet for that. The next morning, we were told they also need us to get a FIV/Luekemia test and that the vet had told them I refused it (not true, she asked if the cat had ever been tested, which she had been several years ago). So we are back to the vet tomorrow for yet another test. I`m really upset that in trying to save my old girl some pokes, I`ve actually added to her stress with these 3 vet trips in less than a week.
My question is, in telling this story to a friend, I was told that older cats generally don`t get FIV or Luekemia and once they`ve had a negative test there shouldn`t be any need to test them again. Does anyone know if this is true? If the shelter is going to require it, we`ll have to have it done, but if it really isn`t necessary, I`d like some reference to back up my complaint.

mikischo
August 1st, 2011, 12:05 PM
We took our cats in for a check up, and because we are planning on adopting a kitten, requested that they get whatever vaccines were required by the shelter for them to ok it. Our elderly cat (17) hasn`t had any shots for a couple of years, but we were told she needed the FVRCP at least. So ok, we did that. Then the shelter called us & said because she had been outdoors recently she needed a rabies, so back to the vet for that. The next morning, we were told they also need us to get a FIV/Luekemia test and that the vet had told them I refused it (not true, she asked if the cat had ever been tested, which she had been several years ago). So we are back to the vet tomorrow for yet another test. I`m really upset that in trying to save my old girl some pokes, I`ve actually added to her stress with these 3 vet trips in less than a week.


My question is, in telling this story to a friend, I was told that older cats generally don`t get FIV or Luekemia and once they`ve had a negative test there shouldn`t be any need to test them again. Does anyone know if this is true? If the shelter is going to require it, we`ll have to have it done, but if it really isn`t necessary, I`d like some reference to back up my complaint.

Adult cats (over the age of two) have a 85% natural immunity to FeLV. This means that, whether or not a cat has ever been vaccinated against the virus, he/she has a 15% risk of getting the virus after close contact with an infected cat. FeLV is spread by prolonged close contact with an infected cat through blood, saliva and, to a lesser extent through urine or feces. Common ways of transfer would be mutual grooming and sharing of food bowls and litter boxes and from bite wounds from an infected cat.

More info here:

http://www.cathealth.com/FeLV.htm

How do cats get it? How is it spread?

The FeLV virus is a member of the Retroviridae family, and is somewhat related to FIV virus, with the FeLV being in the subfamily oncovirus and the FIV in the subfamily lentivirus. According to the Cornell Feline Health Cente , about 2 to 3% of American cats are infected. The Leukemia virus is shed in the saliva, nose discharges, and in lower concentrations in urine as well. The virus is relatively unstable and cannot live outside an infected cat for more than a few hours in a dry environment. Cat bites can be a source of infection. The virus is carried form the saliva of the infected cat and is introduced into the tissue of the recipient. Cats that are housed closely together and share food or water dishes are also at risk. Infected pregnant queens may also transmit the virus to their kittens ( >20 % of kittens infected). Abortion or stillborn kittens may result. There is a strong, natural resistance to FeLV infection that improves as cats mature. Kittens less than four months of age are at a much greater risk of infection than are adults.

FIV is primarily spread through deep wound bites from infected cats so cats that go outdoors and fight with other cats are at the greatest risk of infection. Unlike with FeLV, cats do not develop a natural immunity to the disease as they age.

More info here:

http://www.cathealth.com/FIV.htm

In a nutshell, if your cat's outings are supervised and he/she does not have direct contact or get into fights with neighbourhood cats who may carry the diseases his/her chances of contracting either FeLV or FIV are extremely remote.

mikischo
August 1st, 2011, 12:30 PM
I am also wondering how often your veterinarian vaccinates your cats. Too many veterinarians still tend to overvaccinate cats. Many people now do not even vaccinate their cats after the age of ten unless the cats are free roaming and therefore at greater risk of contracting diseases or if bylaws in their area require certain vaccinations as is sometimes the case with rabies in certain jurisdictions.

The following is a comprehensive article on the risk of overvaccination and particularly the risk of vaccine associated sarcoma with the use of adjuvanted vaccines:

http://www.acerlux.com/vaccines/felinevaccines.html

pamha
August 1st, 2011, 01:52 PM
Thanks for the information. Our vet would like to vaccinate for everything yearly. We have not had our older cat vaccinated for anything for several years. The young one gets the rabies shot because she bites- even though it would be nearly impossible for her to get it (she doesn`t go outside), it would save her being quarantined if she bit someone seriously.
Unfortunately for us, they are treating the issue of our cat going out briefly as if she were free roaming, and the shelter is requiring us to have her vaccinated & tested for everything before allowing us to adopt a kitten. I`m pretty sure our vet (now former vet) told the shelter vet she had not ever been tested and we`d refused the test, rather than that she had been tested in the past, at a different vet. I`m going to ask them to double check the records when we go in this afternoon to see if we can discover how long ago the original test was, but it was at a different vet & the complete records may not have been transferred. :shrug: