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Seroprevalences of feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus in cats with abscesses or bite wounds and rate of veterinarian compliance with current guidelines for retrovirus testing

Carrie E. GoldkampDepartment of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Julie K. LevyDepartment of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Charlotte H. EdinboroExponent Inc Health Group, 149 Commonwealth Dr, Menlo Park, CA 94025.

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Jessica L. LachtaraIDEXX Laboratories, 1 IDEXX Dr, Westbrook, ME 04092.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the seroprevalences of and seroconversion rates for FeLV and FIV infection in cats treated for bite wounds and cutaneous abscesses and to evaluate compliance with recommendations to determine the retrovirus infection status of cats at acquisition and 60 days after a high-risk event.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—967 cats from 134 veterinary practices in 30 states.

Procedures—Cats with bite wounds or abscesses were evaluated by use of a point-of-care immunoassay for blood-borne FeLV antigen and FIV antibody. Veterinarians were asked to retest cats approximately 60 days later to determine whether seronegative cats had seroconverted after injury.

Results—The combined FeLV-FIV status of only 96 (9.9%) cats was known prior to wound treatment. At the time of treatment, 187 (19.3%) cats were seropositive for 1 or both viruses. Age (adult), sex (male), history of cutaneous wounds, and outdoor access were significantly associated with seropositivity. At 73 of 134 (54.5%) veterinary practices, retesting of cats for retrovirus infection status was recommended to owners of 478 cats. Only 64 (13.4%) cats were retested; of these, 3 of 58 (5.2%) cats that were initially seronegative for FIV antibody seroconverted.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A high proportion of cats with abscesses or bite wounds were seropositive for FeLV antigen or FIV antibody. Compliance with recommendations to test cats for retrovirus infection status at acquisition or after treatment for injury was low. The FeLV-FIV infection status of cats with potential fight wounds should be determined at time of treatment and again 60 days later.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the seroprevalences of and seroconversion rates for FeLV and FIV infection in cats treated for bite wounds and cutaneous abscesses and to evaluate compliance with recommendations to determine the retrovirus infection status of cats at acquisition and 60 days after a high-risk event.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—967 cats from 134 veterinary practices in 30 states.

Procedures—Cats with bite wounds or abscesses were evaluated by use of a point-of-care immunoassay for blood-borne FeLV antigen and FIV antibody. Veterinarians were asked to retest cats approximately 60 days later to determine whether seronegative cats had seroconverted after injury.

Results—The combined FeLV-FIV status of only 96 (9.9%) cats was known prior to wound treatment. At the time of treatment, 187 (19.3%) cats were seropositive for 1 or both viruses. Age (adult), sex (male), history of cutaneous wounds, and outdoor access were significantly associated with seropositivity. At 73 of 134 (54.5%) veterinary practices, retesting of cats for retrovirus infection status was recommended to owners of 478 cats. Only 64 (13.4%) cats were retested; of these, 3 of 58 (5.2%) cats that were initially seronegative for FIV antibody seroconverted.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—A high proportion of cats with abscesses or bite wounds were seropositive for FeLV antigen or FIV antibody. Compliance with recommendations to test cats for retrovirus infection status at acquisition or after treatment for injury was low. The FeLV-FIV infection status of cats with potential fight wounds should be determined at time of treatment and again 60 days later.

Contributor Notes

Supported by IDEXX Laboratories.

Address correspondence to Dr. Levy.