Incidence of localized feline leukemia virus infection in cats

Kathleen A. Hayes From the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology (Hayes), Comprehensive Cancer Center, Center for Retrovirus Research, The Ohio State University (Rojko, Mathes), 1925 Coffey Rd, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Jennifer L. Rojko From the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology (Hayes), Comprehensive Cancer Center, Center for Retrovirus Research, The Ohio State University (Rojko, Mathes), 1925 Coffey Rd, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Lawrence E. Mathes From the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology (Hayes), Comprehensive Cancer Center, Center for Retrovirus Research, The Ohio State University (Rojko, Mathes), 1925 Coffey Rd, Columbus, OH 43210.

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Summary

Anecdotal descriptions of atypical FeLV infections, wherein standard clinical elisa or immunofluorescence testing fails to detect active infections, suggest that an unknown proportion of FeLV-infected cats may go undetected. In this study, 127 viremic and nonviremic cats experimentally inoculated with FeLV were evaluated at necropsy for atypical expression of FeLV antigen. Results from viremic cats were in accordance with results of earlier studies on the pathogenesis of FeLV infection in cats, wherein antigen was found in lymphoid and epithelial tissues. Differences in time course or tissue distribution of viral antigen in some cats appeared to be attributable to the challenge virus preparations, consisting of cell-free tumor homogenate or infectious plasma. It was discovered that 5 of 19 of the FeLV challenge-exposed cats that were nonviremic had FeLV-specific antigens in select tissues (bone marrow, spleen, lymph node, and small intestine) 6 to 75 weeks after inoculation. These results indicated an additional category of possible outcomes for cats exposed to FeLV. Localized FeLV infection, as described here, may explain the discordance between clinical disease and laboratory testing for FeLV.

Summary

Anecdotal descriptions of atypical FeLV infections, wherein standard clinical elisa or immunofluorescence testing fails to detect active infections, suggest that an unknown proportion of FeLV-infected cats may go undetected. In this study, 127 viremic and nonviremic cats experimentally inoculated with FeLV were evaluated at necropsy for atypical expression of FeLV antigen. Results from viremic cats were in accordance with results of earlier studies on the pathogenesis of FeLV infection in cats, wherein antigen was found in lymphoid and epithelial tissues. Differences in time course or tissue distribution of viral antigen in some cats appeared to be attributable to the challenge virus preparations, consisting of cell-free tumor homogenate or infectious plasma. It was discovered that 5 of 19 of the FeLV challenge-exposed cats that were nonviremic had FeLV-specific antigens in select tissues (bone marrow, spleen, lymph node, and small intestine) 6 to 75 weeks after inoculation. These results indicated an additional category of possible outcomes for cats exposed to FeLV. Localized FeLV infection, as described here, may explain the discordance between clinical disease and laboratory testing for FeLV.

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