The antibiotics are usually because they are treating for Hemobartonella, 
whether they know the cat has it or not - I guess it can be hard to see.
Hemobartoella is supposedly more common in FeLV cats, though I had a negative 
cat who had it.
Usually if a cat tests positive on a SNAP test they re-do it, to make sure the 
test was done correctly. 
Your cat could easily have been exposed to the virus before the original SNAP 
test years ago. It can take 3 months after exposure for a cat to test positive. 
If you re-test on the SNAP & Tux still tests positive, you can have an IFA 
done. The IFA is done to see what the progression of the virus is. If the IFA 
is positive it means the virus is replicating in the bone marrow & cannot be 
thrown off. 
A negative IFA with a positive SNAP test does NOT mean the cat is negative & 
the SNAP test is wrong. It simply means the cat still has a chance of throwing 
off the virus.

Good luck. If Tux does have Hemobartonella she should respond quickly to the 


Don't Litter, Fix Your Critter!

 From: Dave Arthurs <>
To: "" <> 
Cc: "" <> 
Sent: Tuesday, December 25, 2012 7:40 PM
Subject: Re: [Felvtalk] Re anemia and negative IFA (Dave)
Thanks for the info. We've had Tux and her litter mate, Jet, since they were 
around 6 months old. Both were tested and negative when they were spayed at 9 
months. If they were exposed it had to be 4.5 years ago and then they both had 
false negative elisa tests. 

We are going to test Jet. I'll share those results when we get them. Based on 
the flow chart we'll re-test Tux with IFA in 30 and 60 days. If those tests are 
negative then we'll accept the negative diagnosis.

Yes, the blood antibody test may indicate an auto immune disorder. This test 
will also be positive for blood-specific antigens (parasites and FeLV). We 
didn't want to take any more blood so we just started treatment for parasites 
without confirmation. The vet indicated that the antibiotic would be prescribed 
for FeLV anyway to ward off secondary infections. 

I read that elisa can be false positive for a lot of reasons. In this case 
technician error is at the top of my thoughts. I think the vet had decided on 
the diagnosis and read the elisa wrong. 

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experiences with FeLV. Dave

On Dec 25, 2012, at 4:00 PM, Lori <> wrote:

> Dave,
> I'm no expert by any means, but I have had a bit of experience with
> FelV as I have 16 cats at home and more in my own rescue shelter in
> a building I bought in 2004 and made into a cageless sanctuary for
> cats. I have several FelV cats there.
> The only thing I can think of regarding Tux is that she may have been
> exposed to the virus before you adopted her. It can take about 6 weeks
> after exposure to the virus before the Elisa test shows a definite 
> positive or negative. Anemia is something several of my FelV cats have 
> died from, and a few of them were positive as long as 5 years before 
> showing any symptoms. Usually positive kittens die within the first year, 
> but not always. Approximately 1/3 of all positive cats carry the virus 
> and never show symptoms, 1/3 die, and the other 1/3 have immune systems 
> strong enough to kill the virus.  
> As for the vaccine preventing FelV, if Tux had already been exposed 
> before you adopted her the vaccine would not have kept her from
> developing FelV.
> At this time I have a litter of four 7 month old rescued kittens who 
> all tested positive. There mother was feral and probably FelV positive.
> Sadly, one died last week and the other three still appear very healthy.
> I will retest them in a couple weeks and hopefully they will be negative.
> The difference in your Elisa test and your IFA test is puzzling. You 
> wrote that her blood test showed she was having an immune reaction to
> her own blood, and this appears (to me) to be more of an auto-immune
> problem rather than FelV.  
> Please keep us updated on Tux.
> Lorrie 
> On 12-25, David Arthurs wrote:
>>   Our female cat, Tux, is 5 years old and is recovering from acute
>>   anemia...we are 2-cat household...both house cats, not allowed outside
>>   and no exposure to other cats as far as we know. Both were tested at
>>   the age of spaying (~9 mos) for FeLV (Elisa) and were negative and
>>   vaccinated against it...and boostered 2 years ago.
>>   Tux's blood chem was normal except for severe anemia (10% RBC). She had
>>   lost 2 lbs off her normal weight (sudden)...had a positive snap test
>>   and negative IFA for FeLV. Her blood also tested positive for immune
>>   reaction to her own blood.
>>   We started treatment on prednisone and antibiotics and she has gained
>>   1/4 pound and boosted her new RBC count by 5x, now RBC is at 15% by
>>   blood volume...all in one week's time.
>>   The vet is certain she has FeLV...even though we're having a hard time
>>   understanding how she could possibly have been exposed...and if exposed
>>   why the vaccine didn't prevent infection (it seems like a real long
>>   shot that she would have caught FeLV). I am also trying to understand
>>   how the IFA test could be negative...the low RBC count seems to
>>   indicate that this is secondary viremia...and infecting her bone marrow
>>   (which should lead to a positive IFA). The vet keeps suggesting
>>   implausible ways she may have caught the virus in order to maintain the
>>   diagnosis as FeLV.
>>   Please let me know your experiences and please be honest if you think
>>   we're in denial. From online research I've been able to determine that
>>   the snap test is about 90-95% reliable (and prone to technician error
>>   if faintly positive) and the IFA is 99.9% accurate...but may not
>>   register right away if she has an initial infection.
>>   Thanks for any advice you can share. Dave
>>   --
>>   Dave Arthurs
>>   415.518.9960 mobile
>>   415.344.6546 office
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