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N Z Vet J. 2017 Nov;65(6):285-291. doi: 10.1080/00480169.2017.1348266. Epub 2017 Jul 24.

Prevalence and risk factors for cats testing positive for feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukaemia virus infection in cats entering an animal shelter in New Zealand.

Author information

1
a Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences , Massey University , Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North , 4442 , New Zealand.
2
b RNZSPCA , PO Box 15-309, New Lynn, Auckland , 0640 , New Zealand.

Abstract

AIMS To estimate the prevalence of cats testing positive for antibodies to feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) antigens in domestic cats entering a New Zealand animal shelter, based on a commercial point-of-care ELISA, to identify risk factors associated with cats testing positive, and to compare the results obtained from the ELISA with those obtained using PCR-based testing. METHOD A cross-sectional study was performed on 388 cats entering the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals animal shelter in Auckland, New Zealand between 7 February 2014 and 30 May 2014. Whole blood samples were collected from each cat and tested for FIV antibody and FeLV antigen using a commercial point-of-care ELISA. Information on the signalment and health status of the cat at the time of entry was also recorded. Blood and saliva samples from a subset of cats were tested for FIV and FeLV proviral DNA using a real-time PCR assay. RESULTS Of the 388 cats in the study sample, 146 (37.6%) had been relinquished by owners, 237 (62.4%) were strays, and 5 (1.3%) were of unknown origin. Overall, 53/388 (13.7%) cats tested positive for FIV antibodies and 4/388 (1.0%) were positive for FeLV antigen. Stray cats had a higher FIV seroprevalence than relinquished cats (42/237 (17.8%) vs. 11/146 (7.5%); p=0.008). Of 53 cats that were FIV-seropositive, 51 (96%) tested positive for FIV proviral DNA using PCR testing of blood. Of these 51 cats, 28 (55%) were positive by PCR testing of saliva. Of the four cats that were FeLV antigen-positive by ELISA, two (50%) were positive for FeLV proviral DNA by PCR testing of blood. The odds of a cat being seropositive for FIV were greater for intact compared to desexed cats (OR=3.3; 95% CI=1.6-7.4) and for male compared to female cats (OR=6.5; 95% CI=3.2-14.0). CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE The seroprevalence for FIV was 14% among cats entering an animal shelter in Auckland, whereas the prevalence of FeLV antigen-positive cats was only 1%. These findings suggest differences in the transmission dynamics of each virus in free-roaming cat populations in New Zealand. Our study also highlights the potential role of desexing cats in reducing transmission of FIV. However, further data from first-opinion veterinary practices are required to confirm that these findings may be generalised to the wider domestic cat population in New Zealand.

KEYWORDS:

Feline immunodeficiency virus; cats; diagnostic tests; epidemiology; feline leukaemia virus; risk factor

PMID:
28659065
DOI:
10.1080/00480169.2017.1348266
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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