FIV DIAGNOSIS: Interpretation of
All serological techniques may occasionally give
apparently 'false' negative results in FIV-infected cats, and most ELISA-based
tests give occasional false positives.
Although most cats produce antibody within a few
weeks of FIV infection, some cats ca remain seronegative for up to a year.
Furthermore, some severely ill cats may have little
or no detectable antibody - a similar phenomenon is sometimes seen in terminal
AIDS in man, and may be due to large amounts of virus antigen binding all the
antibody or to profound immunosuppression
Detection of antibody should be interpreted with
care, and in the context of the clinical reason for testing.
In a healthy cat, antibody detection cannot be used
to make a reliable prognosis as the incubation period to disease may be many
years, and it may
be that some cats never become clinically ill. However, field surveys suggest
that many cats do eventually progress to AIDS.
Therefore, detection of virus or antibody in an
ill cat may be irrelevant to the current disease.
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