Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network

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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

We all know that vaccination is key to preventing disease and infection in your cat or dog. But wait! Before we get ahead of ourselves, there is an important first step you should take with your cat or kitten. Pre-vaccination, you should have your feline friend viral tested.


I know what you are thinking, why is this so important, can’t I just vaccinate and be done with it? Absolutely, vaccination is an essential step but having seen what Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) can do to a cat you’ll want to take my word and do all that you can to prevent that sort of pain and suffering before it happens. FeLV is responsible for a number of diseases in cats including, it should come as no surprise, leukemia. FeLV is highly contagious to other cats and is transmitted through body fluids, and may be transmitted across the placenta in pregnant cats. So testing is important even for newborn kittens. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), another virus specific to cats, reduces the capacity of the cat’s immune system to respond to other infectious agents and therefore make your cat susceptible to a number of infections and diseases. FIV is highly contagious to other cats and is transmitted primarily through cat bite wounds, but can also be transmitted through other routes such as across the placenta.

At Bloor Animal Hospital we test for both Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). If and when your cat tests positive for the presence of virus particles it is vital to confirm the positive test result, especially if your cat is otherwise healthy. Why do we need to retest your cat if they are initially positive? For a couple of reasons actually, the first is, some cats are able to mount an appropriate immune response and successfully eliminate the virus on their own. The second is that neither test is 100% accurate all the time, so a second test confirms whether or not treatment should be pursued. And lastly we need to be weary of false negatives, if your cat has recently picked up the FIV their immune system can take up to two months to produce the antibodies we test for. If you think your cat has been put at risk come in for a test and then come and see us again in two months.


If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call or stop by the Bloor Animal Hospital. We are here to help you keep your pet living healthy and happy!

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