Feline leukemia: mixing an infected cat with uninfected cats and children

I adopted 3 kittens 12 weeks ago from a shelter. All 3 were reportedly felv-they just got pre op's for neutering/spaying, and one of them now tested positive(Elisa). My home does not allow effective isolation, and he's very cute, quite healthy and I would really like to keep him. Started the vaccine series on everybody. How do I best go from here, any more tests, any treatment, wait and see...? Any input would be soo appreciated! Also, I have a young child. Any danger? thank you-Corinna

  • Vetinfo

    By: Kara McCarty El Segundo, CA

    Replied on 04/19/2011

    There is absolutely no danger to your child as Feline Leukemia is a species specific virus.

    How old was your little one when he was tested the first time? Some kittens don't show up positive until after 12 weeks so he may have been negative when he was first tested. It's also possible that the test he just had is a false positive. They do happen, especially if whole blood was used. I recommend he have another blood test, called an IFA, checked before we assume he really is positive.

    In the meantime continue with Feline Leukemia vaccines for the other kittens. Try and use separate food and water bowls and litter boxes for everyone as it can be passed by saliva and body fluids. It may be safest to keep them apart as much as possible as the more contact they have the higher the chance of it passing from infected to noninfected kitten and the younger the cat the more likely they will become infected.

    If he is truly positive it may be your other kittens have already become infected. You may want to retest everyone after 12 weeks of being together and then yearly. If they become positive then there is no need to continue vaccinating them. Their chances of becoming positive are higher than normal (1% to 8%) because they will be chronically exposed.

    It's up to you whether you want to expose your other kittens to Feline Leukemia. I wouldn't make a decision until you know whether he is truly positive.

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