What a lousy way to start off as a Foster Mom. It isn't usually like that. Usually you get to play with wonderful little beings, and then send them to their Forever homes. It's never easy to let them go, but knowing that they will have new lives, and you can go on to help the next ones, it kind of balances out.
Unfortunately, there don't seem to be any hard and fast rules for FeLV. From my research, It seems that while cats can test negative and yet still harbor the virus, when they DO test negative, they are not contagious. The problem is multi-faceted, though. In your case, we don't know when the MomCat sero-coverted to positive. Was it during her stay with you? After she left you? If that, then the kittens have a good chance of never testing positive. It's also possible, in fact most likely, that the MomCat was exposed before she was taken into rescue. The incubation period for FeLV is variable, and that's the biggest problem. We just don't know what the time frames are. It's also possible for a cat to test negative, become positive (after incubation) and then recover completely. That can take up 16 weeks, some sources say longer. From; http://abcd-vets.org/guidelines/guidelines_pdf/1201-FeLV_Guideline.pdf, when discussing positive yet healthy cats;
"Cats testing positive may overcome viraemia after two to sixteen weeks - in rare
cases even later. Therefore, every test-positive healthy cat should be separated
and retested after several weeks or months;"
So, it is very possible that they will be negative in 30 days, but they may be positive. The question is whether they will STAY positive. Or stay negative. Even if they become positive, and return to negative, it won't be clear whether they still harbor the virus, or have cleared it completely.
This is no help, I know. I wish there were more I could tell you, but I'm struggling to understand it, myself.
All the best,
From: Deborah Adams
Sent: Jun 6, 2013 4:14 PM
Subject: [Felvtalk] New Member
I'm a new member of this group hoping to better understand FeLv and the situation that I'm in. Last month, I decided to foster kittens for my local humane society as a summer project with my 2 girls (age 7 and 10 years). We were given a momma cat and her 3 kittens who were about 4-5 weeks old, found as strays. All were initially tested for FeLv and came back negative (I don't know which test HS used.) After helping momma wean her kittens, I returned her to the shelter this past weekend. Yesterday she was retested for FeLV before her spay surgery and was positive. (HS checked both her blood and serum.) Today, I took the kittens back to HS for testing and they are negative for FeLV. I agreed to continue fostering them for 30 days and then they will be retested.How much hope do these kittens have? Is there any chance that they will continue to be negative for FeLV? I'm so stressed about all this. My kids are heart-broken. I feel like everything is going all wrong. First, they all got URI and one kitten got a persistent eye infection that took three different antibiotics until it finally cleared up. But her eye is all clouded over and she is probably blind in that eye. And now this FeLV scare. I don't know if I can handle fostering.Deborah Adams
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