While Cornell is not always my favorite reference, this is part of
their article on FELV, which I found interesting- Gloria
I understand there are two stages of FeLV infection. What are they?
FeLV is present in the blood (a condition called viremia) during two
different stages of infection:
•Primary viremia, an early stage of virus infection. During this
stage some cats are able to mount an effective immune response,
eliminate the virus from the bloodstream, and halt progression to the
secondary viremia stage.
•Secondary viremia, a later stage characterized by persistent
infection of the bone marrow and other tissue. If FeLV infection
progresses to this stage it has passed a point of no return: the
overwhelming majority of cats with secondary viremia will be infected
for the remainder of their lives.
How is infection diagnosed?
Two types of FeLV blood tests are in common use. Both detect a protein
component of the virus as it circulates in the bloodstream.
•ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and similar tests can be
performed in your veterinarian's office. ELISA-type tests detect both
primary and secondary stages of viremia.
•IFA (indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay) tests must be sent
out to a diagnostic laboratory. IFA tests detect secondary viremia
only, so the majority of positive-testing cats remain infected for life.
On Apr 18, 2009, at 2:12 PM, James Rauscher wrote:
You know, I was thinking about that one myself. We "rescued" Onyx
from a pet store in Brooklyn In January '06. I say rescued because I
had to take her to the vet the next day. She had bloody diarrhea
(coccidia), she was dehydrated and malnourished. Although the pet
store owner told me she was 10 weeks old, her eyes hadn't changed
color yet, so she was more like 6 weeks old. We never had her tested
(nor did her vet suggest it), I figured a pure-bred cat wouldn't be
exposed. The vet told me about the pet lemon law that would require
the pet store to replace the cat or refund my money, but with this
little kitten in such bad shape, how could I in good conscience give
her back to the people who treated her so horribly? She recovered
from her initial illnesses and has since been very healthy.
Onyx was about a year and eight months old when we got Cinder. we
had Cinder just over two weeks when she came down with a URI, which
Onyx then caught. Onyx got pretty sick because the vet who saw
Cinder (a referral from the shelter) said she didn't need to see
Onyx as well - she would just give me enough antibiotics for both
cats - prescribed the wrong dosage for Onyx (only half of what she
should have bee getting). I figured out the correct dosage myself
through research and got her through it. We switched vets after
that. In hindsight, the surprising thing is that none of the vets
Onyx saw ever recommended testing her, and none of them ever
recommended re-testing Cinder.
Onyx and Cinder were very close, sleeping together and grooming each
other. Onyx stayed by Cinder's side the night before she died, and
didn't eat for almost a week after she passed, wandering around
looking for her. I have wondered if it wasn't Onyx who had it to
begin with after all, and the vets tell me that it's impossible to
know. Looking back, I would think that for Onyx to test positive on
the IFA without showing any sign of illness would almost have to
mean she had it first. Doesn't the IFA signal persistent viremia? I
can only take hope that if that is the case, she may be one of those
rare kitties who carry the virus without succumbing to it.
My other cats got their booster FeLV shots yesterday. These three
don't really mix with each other. The closest they get to each other
is dinner time, and maybe two if them sleeping on opposite sides of
my bed. They do occasionally chase each other through the house, but
no fights or mutual grooming. I do have one question though. I have
conflicting information about the effect of the FeLV vaccine on the
Elisa test. One vet told me it the vaccine will effect the Elisa
test but not the IFA. A person at the ASPCA told me that it effects
both tests. But I have read here and elsewhere that the vaccine has
not effect on either test, because the tests look for antigens, not
antibodies (which is what the vaccine provides). Any clarification
Thanks again! Avia
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