Sometimes my job can be a real pain in the butt. I work for a humane society that provides free spay/neuter to certain groups of people and my hospital performs low cost spay/neuter to anyone who has $40. Yet, some people just can't seem to get there. I mean they make appointments and just don't show up. It's not just that they don't care about their animals, they take up a spot from someone who might actually show up. At the humane society we get about 50% of the appointments to show up. I love the people we call only to wake them up. It's free and they can't even be bothered to get out of bed!
Alright, that rant was brought on by an article in JAVMA Vol. 232. No. 8 page 1152 on Feline Leukemia (FELV), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and cats presented for being in a cat fight. So let's discuss the viruses first.
FELV and FIV are common retroviruses found in cats. The viruses are acquired by direct contact with infected body fluids, and are not contagious to humans. However, like the most widely known retrovirus HIV, there is no cure in cats, it can be difficult to detect in the cat and some cats may be carriers with no apparent clinical signs. Unlike HIV, there are vaccines for both FELV and FIV.
The study involved almost 1000 cats that were presented to a veterinary hospital for treatment of an abscess or bite wound. At presentation, about 20% of the cats were positive for FELV, FIV or both. Cats that were negative for both were told that retesting in 6 months was necessary to make sure that the cats didn't acquire a virus during the current episode. Only 5% of the owners returned to have the cats retested. Here's the kicker: the clients were paid to get the tests run on their pets! Didn't get that? Let me quote the article, "Financial incentives were provided to veterinarians and clients to promote compliance."
So let's summarize this article:
FELV and FIV and deadly diseases that are completely avoidable by keeping you cat inside, or current on his vaccinations.
People and their cats were enrolled in a study to see how many cats that got into a fight had contracted either FELV or FIV.
Even though the clients were being paid to do what was right for their cat, 95% couldn't bother.
Like I said some days my job is a pain in the butt.
It's not all bad news: Here are the AVMA's current recommendations on vaccinating your cat against this common killer.