Domestic cats and dogs may have to be vaccinated in the future against Covid-19 to protect people

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This is a quick note but one worth making nonetheless. I think I can predict that in the long term, perhaps in about 18 months to 2 years time, governments in various countries, perhaps predominantly in the West, will be thinking about vaccinating companion animals as a second phase protective measure against Covid-19.  This is because there is a concern amongst some scientists that animals may create a reservoir for mutant variants of the Covid-19 virus. As the virus is zoonotic it can theoretically and actually be transmitted from animals to people and this must apply also to companion animals. Danish mink farmer with white mink due to be euthanised. Photo per credit Perhaps because of the general panicked nature of governmental responses to the coronavirus pandemic, not enough work has been done on this aspect of the spread of the disease. In addition nobody wants to alarm anybody which may lead to companion animal abuse. In fact, in China, at the outset of the pandemic, there were

Diagnosing and Testing for FeLV

The experts say that the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is "responsible for more cat diseases than any other infectious agent". It directly or indirectly kills more cats than any other virus. About 1-2 percent of healthy free roaming cats are infected and up to 40% of ill free roaming cats have FeLV.

Chart showing how FeLV affects cats
Feel free to use it but link back to this page please

At the time of this post there are two diagnostic tests for an infection of the feline leukemia virus in your cat.

ELISA TEST

The ELISA test detects virus antigen (an antigen is a substance that causes an immune response) in the cat's whole blood, serum, saliva and tears. It detects early and transient infections.

There is a home test kit for this, which I think is useful to reassure cat keepers especially those with multi-cat households where up to 30 percent of cats can be infected. It is expensive but so is going to the veterinarian. And they will probably try and sell you something else.




IFA TEST

This test is carried out by laboratories. It "detects virus antigen in infected white blood cells". If present the cat's bone marrow is infected. This indicates a persistent viremic state. In turn this means the infected cat is shedding the virus making him or her infective to other cats. A positive IFA test indicates that the cat will remain viremic (virus in the blood) for life.

Screening is carried out by the ELISA test and if positive it is followed by with the IFA test.

Reference: Cat Owners Home Veterinary Handbook - ISBN 978-0-470-09530-0

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