Tender Loving Cats, Inc is joining reputable rescues across the country and will no longer be routinely testing cats for FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) and here is why:
We hope to live to see the day when the veterinary community no longer routinely tests for FIV. Today, we know much more about FIV than ever before. We now know that FIV cats lives are NOT shortened by FIV in anyway, regular veterinary care is important to all cats, including those with FIV. We know that FIV is not spread amongst cats who are spayed & neutered. Play-fighting and sharing food/water does not spread FIV. FIV is ONLY spread via a very deep bite wound where there is a saliva to blood transfer, this transfer occurs when unaltered male cats fight for territory, when male cats bite females on the back of the neck during mating or when a female queen bites the umbilical cord of her newly born kittens. The American Association of Feline Practitioners no longer recommends housing these cats separately. Groups such as Maddie’s Fund & American/Austin Pets Alive who are paving the way for research in shelter medicine have long supported the end of routine testing for FIV.
Antibody FIV snap tests, such as Idexx and Witness tests used by shelters, rescues and veterinarians, can not support a true positive or negative test result under 6mths of age. Kittens receive antibodies via their mother’s milk and therefore can test positive for those antibodies until 6 months of age or older depending on the last time they nursed, resulting in a false positive result. Subsequently, cats & kittens who are tested prior to 30 days post exposure or rescue date can yield a false negative result as well.
Sadly, the majority of the veterinary community has not made a great effort in keeping up with the continued education needed to advise their clients appropriately on this subject. We hope that you will take the time to learn more about FIV and why we no longer are testing our rescued cats & kittens for this unless medically warranted. We applaud the veterinarians who are currently in-fact advising their clients appropriately on this subject.