Feline Leukemia Virus and Feline Immunodefiency Virus are leading causes of illness and death in cats in North America. These viruses are transmitted from cat to cat through grooming, bite wounds and sharing common items such as food and water bowls. Symptoms usually arise from a weakening or altering of the immune system. Kittens can be born with or contract infection if the mother cat is infected. Increased exposure to other cats increases infection risk. Higher risk groups would include (1) outdoor cats, especially cats that fight (2) multi-cat households (3) cats from animal shelters, pounds and pet stores (4) barn cats/kittens.
We recommend all cats be tested for both viruses. Testing frequency afterwards will depend on your pet’s lifestyle i.e. indoors/outdoors/fighter etc. Cats that remain indoors with no other cat contact only need to be tested once unless their circumstances change. Cats can be tested at any time with a simple blood test. We will often perform a viral profile test at the time of spaying/neutering in our younger patients at the same time we perform pre-anesthetic blood testing.