At what age are the FelV and FIV tests accurate? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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Old 09-27-2010, 01:26 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default At what age are the FelV and FIV tests accurate?

Being involved in cat rescue, I am frequently bringing foster cats and kittens into the vet for FIV and Felv testing. Most of the time the cat is over 6 mos old, so I don't worry about their age affecting the accuracy of the test.

However, I am currently fostering two 3 week old kittens and I will be picking up a few more approximately 6 week old kittens tommorrow, and I would like to know when they should be tested. I have been reading all sorts of articles online and have talked to multiple vets, but everything I read and each vet I talk to, says something different.

Any thoughts? At what age would you have them tested? Have you ever had a kitten tested at a young age and recieved a false result?
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Old 09-27-2010, 07:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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HI. Well first I want to say, if you test a cat say today and it was exposed to feline leukemia yesterday it will be negative. Ok? Because it takes up to six months for the disease to show positive on a test. So a cat/kitten can be negative today and positive in 6 months. With that let me share a story, will try to make it short.

I took home Penny and her babies. Penny was tested negative. When her babies were 2-3 weeks old a single baby was pulled from the walling of a local business. Mom left her behind. So we tested her and I added her to my mom and babies. She was negative. I named her Stormy. (We made a decision to not test the kittens since mom was negative.) At 8-10 weeks old old a bunch were adopted, someone tested Stormy and it was positive. We called all owners and they brought them back to be tested, when the kittens were tested they showed positive. So Stormy and Penny were tested. Everyone was positive except one, but I told her to retest and am unsure if she ever did. However I received a photo of him recently and he looks great. Fingers crossed. Not testing those kittens was the biggest mistake ever. I've regretted it ever since.

So I think it came from Stormy.

I guess the bottom line is test all now, that way you know you did all you could. We have tested young kittens and they have come back positive so in my opinion it is well worth it.

The FIV I have limited knowledge about. It is not as common as feline leukemia and is transmitted through a bit, usually a deep bite. If a pet has been vx against it then they will test positive. I think the 6 month rule applies, but don't quote me.

Hope I helped some?
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Last edited by doodlebug; 09-27-2010 at 11:36 PM. Reason: Made a correction at OP's request.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Six months, as Teasha explained. it will take that long for the presence of the virus to show up on a test if they were exposed in utero. You CAN test sooner, you might get a false negative, but you can't get a false positive. If its positive at 8 weeks, then its positive, end of. But if its negative at 8 weeks, its possible for it to be positive at 6 months.
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