Hi Avia,

While Cornell is not always my favorite reference, this is part of their article on FELV, which I found interesting- Gloria


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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.

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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 on that?

Thanks again! Avia





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