When should cats be tested for FeLV and FIV?


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Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – I am a technician in a busy veterinary practice in Houston. I wanted to ask another opinion on when you think cats should be tested for retroviruses such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV)?


Megan A.


Hi – thanks for your email Megan. You asked my opinion on when cats should be tested for retroviruses such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

This summer, the American Association of Feline Practitioners released guidelines about the diagnosis of, treatment of and prevention of feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV). They wrote that cats should be tested in the following situations:

  • When first acquired
  • After exposure to an infected cat or a cat of unknown status
  • Before vaccination with FeLV or FIV vaccines
  • When entering a multi-cat situation
  • When a cat becomes sick

    Best of luck!

    Dr. Debra

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    About The Author

    debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

    Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for PetPlace.com, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.