Recommended Cat Antibody Tests

Cat antibody is protein made by the immune system. Antibodies are useful as they catch foreign bodies or bacteria and destroy them. Antibody tests are conducted to detect antibodies that attack the red blood cells. A titer is a blood test used to determine the amount of antibody in the cat's blood to a specific disease. Cats fall prey to several infections caused by viruses or bacteria. Antibody titers assess the immune response to disease causing organisms.

Antibody Tests to Detect Side Effects of Vaccines

Antibody tests are used to detect the long term effects of vaccines in feline diseases such as:

  • Feline panleukopenia virus
  • Feline calcivirus
  • Feline herpesvirus or rhinotracheitis

These are simple viruses. There is medical controversy over the subject of titer tests, as studies prove that vaccinated cats with low or no titers didn't get sick when exposed to the disease. There are certain feline diseases that specifically target your cat's immune system.

Fatal feline diseases:

  • Feline leukemia (FeLV)
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)
  • Feline Leukemia (FeLV)

eLV is a retrovirus. Adult cats have a natural immunity to feline leukemia. Kittens are susceptible to this virus and some kittens that carry their mothers antibodies will return to good health once they combat the virus. Titer testing for FeLV can determine if the cat is infected or if it has been exposed to the virus. The FeLV virus is present in the saliva, urine and milk of infected cats. Two types of tests known as ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and IFA (indirect immunofluorescent antibody assay) are used to detect FeLV. Most cats die of FeLV in a few years, although medication helps to prolong their life. Remember to keep other pets away from cats suffering from feline leukemia as it can be transmitted to them.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a viral disease caused by strains of the feline coronavirus. Although cats infected with the coronavirus don't show any symptoms of infection, the virus advances in few cats due to an abnormality or deviation in the coronavirus. If the cat becomes infected with FIV, the disease will progress and is generally fatal. FIP vaccines are not effective and are not recommended. A test that uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can detect coronavirus. However it cannot be used to detect the specific strains which cause feline infectious peritonitis. FIP can be prevented by providing good nutrition to your cat and by keeping her in clean surroundings.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Although many differences exist, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is classified as a retrovirus like FeLV. FIV causes weakened immune systems in cats and they fall prey to secondary infections. Antibody tests are used to determine the levels of antibodies in the blood of infected cats. If the antibody test is positive, the cat is infected with the virus. Also, if the test is positive, the doctor may recommend a second test to clarify false-positives. Both antibody test and PCR tests can detect FIV infection. Vaccines are available for FIV, but they don't completely protect your cat from contracting the infection. It's ideal to keep your cat away from infected cats as the virus can be transmitted by a cat bite.

Since most disease spread through sources of contamination, it's essential to clean and disinfect food and water bowls. If you bring home a new kitten, make sure she is vaccinated and free from infections. It's always beneficial to conduct routine health checks on your cat to maintain good health and longer life.