Feline Leukemia Virus & Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
The following are possible interpretations of positive and negative test results. You should consult with your private veterinarian for specific advice concerning your pet.
The vast majority of negative tests are interpreted to mean that your cat/kitten does not have the virus that causes the diseases most veterinarians group as “FeLV related.” There is a small possibility that your new pet was exposed to the virus very recently and has such a small amount in her/his body that the test came out negative. To be very sure that a negative test is accurate, your veterinarian should retest your cat in 4-8 weeks.
A positive result means that your cat/kitten has the virus present in his/her blood. Many cats that are FeLV positive are able to fight it off and become FeLV negative in the future. If you decide to adopt a FeLV positive cat, you should have the cat retested by your veterinarian. The cat/kitten can become FeLV negative at any time, but most will successfully fight off the disease within 12 weeks. You should consider your cat positive and therefore contagious to other cats at this time.
This means that your cat/kitten has not been exposed to the virus that causes Feline Immunodeficiency Disease. A negative test is highly reliable; the rare exception is exposure that was so recent that your cat/kitten has not yet developed a positive reaction on the test. If you have your cat/kitten retested for FeLV, your veterinarian may suggest repeating the FIV test at the same time.
This result means that your cat/kitten has been exposed to the FIV virus. Many cats live essentially normal lives with FIV in their bodies. However, you should discuss the results with your veterinarian and learn how this will affect your cat. A newly available vaccine has made positive FIV test more complicated to interpret. Kittens up to 12-weeks can test positive for FIV if their mothers were vaccinated against the virus. Older cats vaccinated against FIV often have positive FIV tests for a year or more after they were vaccinated. Because this vaccine is not yet widely available and very few cats have been vaccinated with it, the likelihood of a vaccine-induced positive is very slim.