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

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

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

Spay & Neuter Your Neighbors!
Maybe That'll Make The Difference....

Special-Needs Coordinator, Purebred Cat Breed Rescue (
Member, SCAT (Special-Cat Action Team)
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