FELINE LEUKEMIA/AIDS/HEARTWORM COMBO TEST
Our records show your cat is due for a Feline Leukemia Virus/Feline A.I.D.S. Virus/Feline Heartworm test. FeLV/FIV/HW testing of your pet is easy and almost painless; it involves acquiring a small sample of blood (3 drops!). The blood sample is then processed in the Windmill Animal Hospital laboratory, using state-of-the-art testing equipment.
FeLV/FIV/HW testing screens your pet for two of the most deadly diseases cats can become infected with: Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline A.I.D.S (or Immunodeficiency) Virus (FIV). FeLV infection is responsible for more deaths among cats than any other infectious disease, making it the most devastating feline disease worldwide. In the United States, FeLV infects about 2% to 3% of all cats. Since there are 70 million cats in the United States, this means there are more than 2.2 million cats suffering from this disease right now! The virus affects domestic cats and occurs in some wild felines as well. FeLV is considered highly contagious, being easily passed from cat to cat through any contact with bodily fluids of an infected cat. There is no cure for FeLV, although there is a good vaccine for it.
FIV Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) causes an infectious disease in domestic cats and cheetahs similar to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV infection) in humans. It attacks and weakens the body’s immune system, making the animal susceptible to infections and diseases that don't affect healthy cats. There is no cure for FIV, although there is a vaccine to help prevent it. Though eventually fatal, an FIV-positive cat can live for many years without any signs of illness. 3% of the cats in the United States are FIV-positive, meaning more than 1.6 million cats are enduring this disease right now. FIV is spread through fighting, biting, and breeding.
Did you know cats can get infected with heartworms, too? On average, for every 6 dogs with heartworms, there will be a cat with heartworms, too. Since cats aren't the normal host animal for heartworms, the symptoms of heartworm disease in cats are MUCH different than in dogs. Weight loss, asthma-like symptoms, and unexplained sudden death are the most common symptoms. Cats with heartworms can't be treated with chemotherapy to remove the worms from their bodies, but their symptoms can be managed until the cat outlives the heartworms.
Although these three diseases are not curable, they are manageable. Therefore, it is critically important that we know the FeLV/FIV/HW status of all our cats. In addition, since both viral diseases are contagious, we need to know all cats' FeLV/FIV status to help protect the other cats they may come in contact with us. We don't want to condemn other cats in our households or neighborhoods to a death sentence simply because we don't know our own cats' health status!
The doctors of Windmill Animal Hospital recommend ALL outdoor cats, indoor/outdoor cats, and cats from multi-cat households be tested annually. Newly acquired kittens and cats, including those from shelters and catteries should be tested for FeLV/FIV/HW upon acquisition. Indoor-only cats should be tested every 3 years.