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Seroprevalence of feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus infection among cats in North America and risk factors for seropositivity

Julie K. Levy DVM, PhD, DACVIM1, H. Morgan Scott DVM, PhD2, Jessica L. Lachtara3, and P. Cynda Crawford DVM, PhD4
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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 326100126.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77845-4458.
  • | 3 IDEXX Laboratories, 1 IDEXX Dr, Westbrook, ME 04092.
  • | 4 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 326100126.

Abstract

Objective—To determine seroprevalence of FeLV and FIV infection among cats in North America and risk factors for seropositivity.

Design—Prospective cross-sectional survey.

Animals—18,038 cats tested at 345 veterinary clinics (n = 9,970) and 145 animal shelters (8,068) between August and November 2004.

Procedure—Cats were tested with a point-of-care ELISA for FeLV antigen and FIV antibody. A multivariable random effects logistic regression model was used to identify risk factors significantly associated with seropositivity while accounting for clinic-to-clinic (or shelter) variability.

Results—409 (2.3%) cats were seropositive for FeLV antigen, and 446 (2.5%) cats were seropositive for FIV antibody; 58 (0.3%) cats were seropositive for infection with both viruses. Multivariable analysis indicated that age, sex, health status, and cat lifestyle and source were significantly associated with risk of seropositivity, with adults more likely to be seropositive than juveniles (adjusted odds ratios [ORs], 2.5 and 2.05 for FeLV and FIV seropositivity, respectively), sexually intact adult males more likely to be seropositive than sexually intact adult females (adjusted ORs, 2.4 and 4.66), and outdoor cats that were sick at the time of testing more likely to be seropositive than healthy indoor cats (adjusted ORs, 8.89 and 11.3).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that certain characteristics, such as age, sex, health status, and lifestyle, are associated with risk of FeLV and FIV seropositivity among cats in North America. However, cats in all categories were found to be at risk for infection, and current guidelines to test all cats at the time of acquisition and again during illness should be followed.

Abstract

Objective—To determine seroprevalence of FeLV and FIV infection among cats in North America and risk factors for seropositivity.

Design—Prospective cross-sectional survey.

Animals—18,038 cats tested at 345 veterinary clinics (n = 9,970) and 145 animal shelters (8,068) between August and November 2004.

Procedure—Cats were tested with a point-of-care ELISA for FeLV antigen and FIV antibody. A multivariable random effects logistic regression model was used to identify risk factors significantly associated with seropositivity while accounting for clinic-to-clinic (or shelter) variability.

Results—409 (2.3%) cats were seropositive for FeLV antigen, and 446 (2.5%) cats were seropositive for FIV antibody; 58 (0.3%) cats were seropositive for infection with both viruses. Multivariable analysis indicated that age, sex, health status, and cat lifestyle and source were significantly associated with risk of seropositivity, with adults more likely to be seropositive than juveniles (adjusted odds ratios [ORs], 2.5 and 2.05 for FeLV and FIV seropositivity, respectively), sexually intact adult males more likely to be seropositive than sexually intact adult females (adjusted ORs, 2.4 and 4.66), and outdoor cats that were sick at the time of testing more likely to be seropositive than healthy indoor cats (adjusted ORs, 8.89 and 11.3).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that certain characteristics, such as age, sex, health status, and lifestyle, are associated with risk of FeLV and FIV seropositivity among cats in North America. However, cats in all categories were found to be at risk for infection, and current guidelines to test all cats at the time of acquisition and again during illness should be followed.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Levy.