The Parvo Test Process Explained

Only a parvo test accurately confirms if an animal is sick with the gastrointestinal illness. Parvo affects canines and is especially deadly to puppies, but it also affects cats. In a cat's case, feline parvovirus (FPV) is also known as feline infectious enteritis or feline panleukopenia.

Seriousness of Parvo

Most cats are vaccinated against FPV, however kittens are at risk. A mother cat's milk contains antibodies that protect them while they are nursing, but the antibodies only protect them for four weeks. Most kittens do not get their first vaccinations preventing parvo until 8 to 12 weeks when they head to a permanent home. If these kittens come into contact with the feces of an infected dog or cat, they can contract the often deadly virus.

Symptoms include fever, vomiting and diarrhea. These cause kittens to dehydrate quickly. If you suspect your kitten has parvo, you need to bring your cats and kittens to a vet for a parvo test.

How an ELISA Test Works

The ELISA (Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay) test was developed to diagnose canine parvo, but works effectively on cats as well. Start by obtaining a fecal matter sample through a rectal swab. The ELISA test comes with a swab that you gently insert into the cat's anus, covering the swab tip with a small amount fecal matter. Snap the tube covering back over the swab.

Once the tube covering is back into place, you snap the valve stem, it's purple in color, by bending it back and forth. Squeeze the bulb at the top to release the blue liquid where it mixes with the fecal matter.

The ELISA Snap Parvo Test

The other portion of the ELISA test is commonly referred to as the "SNAP." This plastic device has a whole where you place five drops of the fecal matter solution. Once the solution appears in the first circle in the result window, you push the activator down. You may hear or feel it snap into place. If the solution doesn't seem to have reached the first circle within a minute, check to see if it has flowed to the result window at all and activate the test at that point.

The result window contains three circles in a triangular pattern. The top circle is first and then is followed by two circles beneath it. Wait eight minutes before reading the test results.

What the Results Mean

If the top circle and either bottom circle fill with color, the results for the parvo test are positive. If the top circle in the result window is colored and neither of the other circles are colored, the results are negative.

Tips for Accurate Test Results

When collecting a fecal sample, avoid using any lubricant. While it may seem the easiest way to eliminate stress on a cat, it will tamper with the parvo test results.

Make sure the stool sample and ELISA test kit are at room temperature.

Do not open the test kit until you are ready to collect the stool sample. Once a kit is activated, it must be used immediately.