When to Test
As soon as possible after they are acquired
- Following exposure to an infected cat or a cat of unknown infection status
- Prior to vaccination against FeLV or FIV
- Whenever clinical illness occurs, regardless of previous testing status
Both Viruses Together
- A single testing protocol is difficult to recommend for all cats.
- Infected cats may not present with signs of disease.
- ALL sick cats should be tested.
- It is not always possible to determine infection status with single test.
- Repeat tests using different methods may be necessary.
Testing for FeLV: Interpreting Results
- Results of FeLV testing may be discordant.
- Abortive infection: negative on the POC test.
- Progressive infection: positive on the POC test 30+ days after exposure.
- Regressive infection: negative OR positive on the POC test.
- PCR testing may be positive in both progressively and regressively infected cats.
- Other testing results (microwell, IFA, etc.) may be positive depending on stage and class of infection.
Testing for FIV: Interpreting Results
- A positive POC for FIV test indicates the presence of FIV antibodies.
- Infected cats will be positive for FIV antibodies 60+ days post-infection.
- If the patient test is negative, the patient should be retested for FIV in 60 days.
- Confirmatory testing is ideal and may include a different manufacturer’s POC test, a PCR test, or a Western Blot test.
About FIV Vaccinates
- FIV vaccine is no longer available in North America since 2015.
- Vaccinated cats may retain antibodies against FIV for 7+ years post vaccination.
- FIV vaccinates may be positive for FIV antibodies.
- Vaccinated cats may continue antibody positive on some POC tests for 7+ years.
- Cats testing positive still need to be assessed for previous vaccination.
- Some POC tests are able to differentiate between antibodies of truly infected versus vaccinated cats. See AAFP Retrovirus Guidelines
© American Association of Feline Practitioners, 2020