this is going out to both the lists, and to some folks very involved in special-needs rescue. so if i'm telling you things you already know, i apologize!
there has been, in the past couple of months, a grand increase in the number of cats testing positive on SNAP/ELISSA tests in shelter and rescue settings, all over the country. houston/austin TX and the NYC/NJ area are striking examples of the increase. what's the reason? switch in test brands to the less expensive or less accurate? so many cats coming into the system that the tests are being run by folks who are either less experienced, or too harried to do the tests correctly? a major injection of the virus into the outdoor-cat population? i expect that we'd have heard about the latter if it were the case. of course, we know that a single positive test -- even if done correctly, with a reputable test -- means nothing more than that the kitty was exposed to the virus. that a second test, preferably an IFA, performed 90-120 days after the last possible exposure date, is required to confirm positive status. most people--including far too many vets--seem to have missed that basic fact. in shelter situations, there is almost no chance that they can hold a cat for retesting, and safe houses are very hard to come by. i have consistently been telling folks NOT to do an IFA on a kitty who has just tested positive on an ELISSA, because the IFA also tests only for antigens--that if said fluffball is working on processing the virus out of its body, it's gonna test positive on the IFA as well, without that 90-120 window for allowing the cat's immune system to take over. i was just asked today whether or not it'd be a good idea to immediately ELISSA-retest a kitty that tested positive in a shelter setting. because of the huge increase in positive test results being seen right now, and the fact that a positive result too often means death, i think that retesting at a private vet's IS probably a good idea. my question is this: might changing the recommendation, in *shelter-tested cats*, to an immediate IFA be warranted? if the first test was accurate, and kitty did test positive for exposure to FeLV, the IFA will show the same response, and nothing has been lost: kitty still needs to be retested at the 90-120 day interval. if, however, the IFA is negative, because the first test was really wrong, then we'd know immediately that kitty was fine and ready for adoption. for vet-tested cats, i wouldn't run the IFA right away, because of the exposure/antigen reasons (tho vets have self-reported that doing SNAP tests wrong is on their top ten list of mistakes that make most often), but with the sharp increase in shelter positives--what do y'all think? MC -- Spay & Neuter Your Neighbors! Maybe That'll Make The Difference.... MaryChristine Special-Needs Coordinator, Purebred Cat Breed Rescue (www.purebredcats.org) Member, SCAT (Special-Cat Action Team) _______________________________________________ Felvtalk mailing list Felvtalk@felineleukemia.org http://felineleukemia.org/mailman/listinfo/felvtalk_felineleukemia.org