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American Association of Feline Practitioners FIV & FeLV Testing Guidelines
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
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April 2001 News

The American Association of Feline Practitioners is initiating an educational campaign to increase the testing of cats for feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). The campaign will include television commercials, materials for other media such as newspapers and magazines, a website, and materials for veterinarians and staff. In addition, they have designed a form (see below) that cat owners can fill out and present to their veterinarians, to help their veterinarian determine what testing may be necessary. The new recommendations for testing cats for FIV and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) are summarized in the following table.
Situation FIV FeLV
During Sickness When cats are sick, regardless of previous negative results. While many signs (such as fever, stomatitis, vomiting, and diarrhea) are obvious indicators of illness, other signs are subtle and may include changes in behavior, grooming, and eating habits. Same as FIV, including sick cats that have been vaccinated for FeLV.
New Adoptions When cats and kittens (regardless of age) are newly adopted, whether or not they will be entering a household with other cats. Same as FIV
Multi-cat Households When cats live in households with unknown FIV infection status. Infected cats can remain asymptomatic for years, during which time they may transmit the virus to uninfected cats. Same as FIV when cats live in households with unknown FeLV status.
After Potential Exposures When cats have had potential exposure, such as a bite inflicted by a cat of unknown infection status. Such cats should be tested a minimum of 60 days post-exposure. When cats have had known or possible exposure to other cats of unknown infection status (e.g., cats that go outdoors unsupervised). Periodic testing may be justifiable in cats at continued risk of exposure even though adults are relatively resistant to FeLV infection.
Routine Testing Annually, when cats are at high risk of infection. Cats at high risk of infection include those that fight or those that live with FIV infected cats. No recommendation at this time.

The following is a sample of a completed FIV and FeLV Observation Form. Click here if you would like to go to a blank form you can print out and use.

FIV and FeLV Observation Form

About Your Cat:

Name: Morris

Age: 6 Years

Sex: Male

Is your cat neutered/spayed? Yes

Geographic Location: WI - Wisconsin 54501



How long ago was your last visit to your veterinarian? 2 Years

Is your cat primarily an indoor cat or an outdoor cat? Mostly indoor

Has your cat been vaccinated for FeLV? Yes

Do any of these situations apply to your cat? Please check all that apply:

Has been outside unsupervised __
Was exposed to a cat with unknown FIV/FeLV status
Was in a fight with another cat  X 
Lives in a household with other cats of unknown FIV/FeLV status
Lives in a household with a recently adopted cat __
Was a stray or obtained from a shelter

Has your cat had any of these signs of illnesses? Please check all that apply:

Weight Loss  X 
Decreased appetite
Decreased grooming __
Decreased energy or general weakness
Vomiting __
Gingivitis (red, swollen gums)  X 
Pale gums
Mouth sores __
Enlarged lymph nodes
This form was developed by the American Association of Feline Practitioners.


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