Does my cat need to get tested for feline leukemia?
About 5 1/2 months ago, I took in a stray cat. When I took him to get his shots done, they said he looked like a healthy adult cat. If I get him tested, and it is positive, will he die? He doesn't seem weak, though he does sleep a lot and has gained some weight (he is 12 pounds). What should I do? Get him tested?
- WillowLv 55 years agoFavorite Answer
It's always smart to have a stray cat tested for felv/fiv (feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus). If he's positive, it's not a death sentence, but it will mean a few lifestyle changes to help ensure his best health. They don't have to look or act sick to have either of these diseases.Source(s): Vet hospital employee.
- Elaine MLv 75 years ago
FeLV cats can live 5 years or more without much issue, but it does shorten their lifespan. The quickie tests the vet has that can be done at the clinic are accurate (they're called the Elisa test). You can get him tested.
However FIV is more common in a former outside cat, though there's no guarantee that your cat has any issues at all. FIV is far easier to live with, it doesn't shorten the cat's lifespan and they won't pass it to any other cat if they don't do deep bite wounds. We had two FIV+ cats who lived side by side 24/7 for over 12 years with our other three indoor cats and they never passed it. We lost one to a liver tumor, and the other to cardiomyopathy, neither of which were caused by the FIV. Unfortunately the Elisa test has a known failure rate of over 60% on detecting FIV, meaning it gives false positives to 60 out of 100 cats who don't have the disease. Do not rely on that test.
Either way, if your cat is positive for either one (or both), go over to YahooGroups and join one of the FeLV or FIV lists and discuss it with the other owners on the lists, they can advise you on all aspects of these diseases.
I wouldn't hesitate to adopt another FIV cat. The FeLV is more concerning since that can be passed through casual mutual grooming to other cats.
- Mary ContraryLv 75 years ago
It's smart to get him tested, especially if he is allowed outside, or you ever get another cat.