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Q: Is there a way to differentiate between an FIV vaccination and the actual virus?

August 5, 2009 | By Anonymous | 5 answers | Expired: 1827 days ago

Tags: fiv+

Anonymous

I have been trying to find a home for an FIV+ (but neutered) stray that I found. I have to advertise his FIV+ status because it is relevant to a potential adopter. I just found out tonight that there IS an FIV vaccination, but most vets do not give it because if tested, a cat would produce a false positive and if that cat would ever get loose and brought to an animal holding facility, it would likely be euthanized. So two parts, can someone confirm that there IS a vaccination, and is there anyway to differentiate between the vaccination and the actual virus? This seems to me something that could save hundreds of thousands of cats per year, if the test could distinguish between the two.

Readers' Answers (5)
Gail S.
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Aug 06, 2009

There is a vaccine available for FIV, although it is not 100% effective in preventing infection. FIV vaccinated cats will test positive for FIV on all currently available tests. Therefore, permanent identification of vaccinated cats such as tattooing and/or microchip is vital. Because FIV is not very readily spread, the routine use of FIV vaccination in a shelter is rarely indicated. Rather, the new owner and their veterinarian should decide whether the vaccine is appropriate for the individual circumstances of the cat.

In March of 2002 the USDA approved the use of an FIV vaccine manufactured by Fort Dodge under the brand name Fel-O-Vax. The efficacy rate of the vaccine has been reported to be 67-84%.

Many shelters across the United States routinely euthanize cats that test positive for FIV after their mandatory holding period. At this time the shelter medicine program recommends that only owners of "at risk cats" (indoor/outdoor or outdoor only) consider vaccinating their cats for FIV, and if vaccination is elected, it is imperative that tattooing or microchipping be performed at the same time. Having the means to quickly identify the owner of a stray cat entering a shelter with a positive FIV status can mean the difference between life and death.

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Kelly
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Aug 06, 2009

There has been an FIV vaccine since 2002. The vaccine isn't 100% effective & has been associated with vaccine-related sarcoma. Once vaccinated a cat will show a false positive on future tests. Current;y there is no way to differentiate between the vaccine & the disease although the University of Florida working on a new test. Here are some links:
www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/news/FeLV.htm
www.sheltermedicine.com/portal/is_feline_fiv.shtml

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Debra B.
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Aug 06, 2009

I do know an FIV vaccine is available. However, I don't think it is very protective against the disease, at least from my discussions with my vet. Pet owners want such a vaccine so big pharma makes one even if its efficacy isn't great. I don't vaccinate my cats for it. I believe the FIV vaccine is composed of parts of the virus's outer surface proteins, so then I could understand why a cat vaccinated for FIV would come up positive under an FIV test which I believe also detects outer surface proteins of the virus. Didn't really make this connection that a cat vaccinated for FIV may face euthanasia in a shelter when the cat comes up positive on the FIV blood test. I don't know if there is a way to distiguish a cat with an active FIV infection and one who is vaccinated against FIV,

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