FIV/Feline Leukemia - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-15-2006, 11:37 PM Thread Starter
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FIV/Feline Leukemia

A friend of mine has a cat who has been diagnosed with both FIV and leukemia. She adopted him about six years ago when he "came with" a house she bought (i.e., the jerk former owners abandoned him).

He was already fixed and had a clean bill of health, including negative tests for FIV and leukemia. He was a mostly-outdoor cat so she let him stay that way. A couple of years later she decided to get him vaccinated for those things, but he was tested again first, and came up positive for both. This was three or four years ago.

The thing is, he's in stellar health. He's never had so much as a cold. She's been mostly keeping him in the house since then. But she's lax and he gets out a lot, so he has interacted with her neighbor's cats (I have lectured her sternly about this many times). None of them have tested positive or gotten sick either.

Is it possible that he could be a false positive? Is there anyway to know?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-16-2006, 11:25 AM
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I came across some articles that mentioned the ELISA test could have false positives, but nothing that said what the rate was. I'm not familiar with this test, as the vets around here use what's called a SNAP test. In any case, this article suggests a retest using a different "test format" when there's a positive result. I suppose they mean if you got a positive with an ELISA test then you retest using SNAP, or visa versa.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-16-2006, 07:29 PM Thread Starter
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OK, thank you! I'll pass all this on to my friend.

I thought there would be some lectures too about keeping her cat in the house if he could have a contagious fatal disease. If anyone wants to add some lectures, I'll pass them on too! It seems like more reinforcement of the message wouldn't hurt.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-16-2006, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, I forgot to add a detail. He was REALLY stressed out by the first medical experiences. The first time, the vet didn't realize he was fixed already for some reason until they got him shaved. The normally happy-go-lucky cat was so scared, he urinated on himself in his carrier.

She wondered if the stress of a second test -- or even ordinary vaccines which she has also not done --would be great enough that if he's FIV/leukemia positive, it would start the cycle of sickness.

Sorry for forgetting this detail.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-16-2006, 07:59 PM
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I don't think another FIV/FeLV test should be all that stressful. I had a SNAP test done recently and it only took about five minutes. But I suppose it depends on the cat.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-17-2006, 12:21 AM
 
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I've owned over 30 feluk positive cats and 4 AIDS positive. Stress is the worst thing you can do to a Feluk/Aids cat.

I doubt if the test is a false positive, but she could get the cat tested again if it helps her feel better.

She needs to keep this cat indoors at all costs or it will go outside and infect other cats. Feluk is highly contagious.

Since it appears the cat acquired the infections later in life, he could live a long time. That is if he's inside, fed nutrious food and gets vet checks every 6 months and at the fist sign of illness or weight loss, she bring him in for a check up. Common in Aids cats are gum disease and infection so she should make sure the vet checks his teeth and gums regularly or if she can do it herself.

Please tell her she can e-mail me a private message if she'd like more information on caring for and boosting the immune system of a feluk/aids cat.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-15-2006, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Well, after three years of stellar health, my friend's cat has taken an abrupt downhill turn. For the past two days he's been lethargic, not eating or drinking, having trouble even walking. His gums are pale, and he's hardly grooming. It looks like it's probably anemia, caused by the FeLV.

The thing is, my friend is being really cavalier about it. She's just assuming he's dying from the FeLV, and that's that. She doesn't want to take him to the vet since he gets so stressed out about it. "It's better to let him die at home in peace."

But suppose it isn't the FeLV? What if it's something else entirely, and curable, and she's just leaving him to die from it? If it was your cat, wouldn't you need to know what was wrong before you let him die???

Yes, he gets really really stressed out at the vet, like peeing-himself stressed. But right now, he's only half-conscious. If there was ever a better time to take him to the vet, I don't know when it would be.

I could even understand (though not agree with) her position, except for something she said just a couple of weeks ago. She and her husband went out of town, and my husband and I took over feeding the cat, as we usually do. She gave the vet's phone number to my husband before she left, and made an offhand remark about "if he gets really sick and you have to have him put down."

My husband said, umm, what? and she said, "Well you know, I don't want to have to spend hundreds of dollars on him if he gets sick." Meanwhile, they left a vet bill for their dogs sitting out on their kitchen counter. It was for over $400 dollars, for routine care.

So tonight I gave them a heartfelt, hopefully guilt-inducing lecture about not just letting him die, but it just made them defensive. I'm afraid that poor kitty is doomed. It's probably the FeLV, it's probably his time, but jeez. I like my friends a lot less right now.

I'm sorry this is so long, I just really needed to vent.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-15-2006, 10:48 PM
 
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Some people are cold hearted and think of their pets as possessions only. She's being a coward letting the poor cat suffer and not taking him to the vet. Sounds like she's either too cheap or doesn't want to face the inevitable. I know how you feel, but there's really nothing you can do but, try to talk to her.

I just heard some distrubing news from someone who I thought was a real animal lover. She is moving and told me today she's leaving the stray that she's been for over a year. I will have to go rescue him so he doesn't starve to death. I am however going to bring charges against her for abandonment if she does in fact leave him!!
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2006, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for you comments, lotocats. I'm sorry to hear about your friend being a jerk, too. I hope you can find a permanent home for her cat.

As I mentioned in my initial post, my friend acquired her cat under similar circumstances. Maybe since she didn't choose to adopt him, she was never that emotionally invested. I guess I didn't see it before because he was always healthy and independent-minded, and never really needed much care.

Unfortunately, we're far from the only two on this board to be dismayed by a friend's sudden indifference to their pet. I'm not insisting that everyone in the world should be decking their cats in tiaras and hand-feeding them steak tartare. But is it too much to ask that they be shown basic decency, and not be neglected or discarded? Apparently, yes.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 05-16-2006, 12:04 PM
 
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When you said "chose to adopt him" that reminded me of a woman I spoke to last week. I called her at the request of someone who said she was trying to find a home for her dog because she and her husband didn't have time to take care of it.

In speaking with her she kept repeating "I didn't really want him" but.... I reminded her that she'd had him for 8 years and it was her responsibility to do the right thing for the dog. She agreed.

I do animal rescue and run into those types all the time. I don't bit my tongue in tellling them what their responsibility is to the animal. If I can make them feel badly for not taking responsibility, I do. That's the problem today, no one wants to "hurt" anyone's feelings. As far as I'm concerned when it comes down to an animal's well being or an owner's feelings, I'm more concerned about the animal than the owner.
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