Feline Leukemia/Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FeLV/FIV) PDF Print E-mail


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What are FeLV and FIV?

Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) are both caused by retroviruses that are similar to, but not the same as, the virus that causes human AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).  There is no indication that cats can spread this disease to people or be infected by the human version.  These viruses are species-specific.  These viruses are however, transmissible among cats. Both viruses depress the immune system opening the door to secondary infections and diseases.  The most common contagious infection is upper-respiratory.  The most common non-contagious disease is cancer.  An individual cat may contract both FeLV and FIV.


"The Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) infection status of all cats should be known." AAFP Guidelines, 2005


The International Center for Veterinary Services (ICVS), together with the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), an organization of veterinarians with a special interest in the health of cats, urges you to have your cat tested for FeLV and FIV. Infected cats can live long and healthy lives if diagnosed early and treated properly.


Why You Should Have Your Cat Tested

Early detection of infection will help you not only maintain the health of your own cat, but will allow you to prevent spreading infection to other cats. Fortunately, it is usually quite simple to diagnose infection. A small blood sample is all that’s needed, and your ICVS veterinarian can perform the test right in the hospital’s full service laboratory. You’ll have the result of an “in-house” test in minutes, allowing you to consult with your ICVS veterinarian before leaving the hospital.


When to Have Your Cat Tested

FeLV and FIV testing is important in the following situations:

  • If your cat has never been tested before
  • If your cat is sick, even if he/she may have tested free of infection in the past
  • When cats and kittens are newly adopted, whether or not they will be entering a household with other cats
  • If your cat has recently been exposed to an infected cat
  • If your cat is exposed to cats that may be infected (for example, if your cat has been bitten by a cat of unknown status or if your cat goes outdoors unsupervised or lives with other cats that might be infected). Your veterinarian may suggest testing periodically as long as your cat is potentially exposed to infected cats.
  • Prior to your cat's receiving an FeLV or FIV  vaccine
  • If your cat lives in a household with unknown FeLV or FIV infection status; infected cats can remain asymptomatic for years, during which time they may transmit the virus to uninfected cats


Please speak with your ICVS veterinarian about having your cat tested to help determine the risk for FeLV and/or FIV infection. Early testing is key in helping cats live longer and healthier lives.


For more information about FeLV/FIV testing and prevention, please contact ICVS:

Tel: (8610) 8456-1939/1940

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



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