Feline Immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is an important pathogen causing lifelong infection in cats and for which a vaccine is available. A concern exists regarding the vaccine in that vaccinated cats will test positive by most routine testing. Distinguishing vaccinated from infected cats is a particular concern in cats with unknown histories, such as in shelters. In this study, investigators examined the usefulness of several point of care kits for detecting infection with FIV using saliva as a test sample.
Two point-of-care FIV antibody test kits (Witness FeLV/FIV and Anigen Rapid FIV/FeLV) could accurately identify natural FIV infection in client-owned Australian cats using saliva as the diagnostic specimen, irrespective of FIV vaccination history. In areas where FIV vaccination is practiced, and when venipuncture is not possible without skilled physical restraint or heavy sedation, collecting and testing saliva for the presence of FIV antibodies using either of these two kits is an accurate method for diagnosing FIV infection. This methodology may prove particularly helpful in shelters where large numbers of cats need to be screened for FIV infection quickly and affordably, additional haematologic tests are not indicated and vaccination history is unknown.