Why do I need to repeat a Feline Leukemia and AIDS test?

Our question this week was:

I found a stray that had some bite wound and took him to my vet. He treated the bite wounds and I fell in love with this cat. I want to keep him. My vet recommended that I have him tested for feline leukemia and feline aids virus. The tests were negative. However, he recommended that I neuter him and repeat the tests in a couple months. Why do I need to repeat this test Dr. Debra?

Sally F. Boston, MA


Hi – thanks for your email. Excellent question! We have an excellent article on Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) but I will try give you a quick answer although it is complicated.

This is from the article:

False negative ELISA tests can occur in cats that were recently infected and have not yet began to produce antibodies (it can take 8 weeks from exposure to have a positive test result).

So, if you got your cat today and he is negative and he was exposed to a cat with FIV yesterday, it may be two months before he shows a positive test result.

So, I agree with your vet. He had a bite wound which is the way FIV can be transmitted. Your cat is probably fine but the safest thing to do is to have him retested so you know.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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