Friday, March 16, 2007

To test or not to test

I'm packing caregiver packets for tomorrow's workshop and going through the snail mail. Thanks to everyone who have sent in their renewals so promptly.

One thing that I noticed when people send in their vet reimbursements. On occasion it seems as if people test for quite a few things, some of which may not be strictly necessary. For example, caregivers have limited funds. If for example, the cat has a urinary tract infection, it's a good idea to discuss with your vet if it's necessary to test for FIV. It may not alter the way the cat is treated, so it may be better to just save your money for something else. Some vets may not know this is a community cat and this is a factor that you should bring to their attention. If you bring the cat back to your own home, you may decide that, knowing your own cats are all FIV free, that you want to test the cat for its FIV status as well. However if you have a whole colony of cats that are not tested, and you do not think that knowing the FIV status is necessary in deciding on the treatment you give to the cat after talking to the vet, then save the money.

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14 Comments:

Anonymous veganmeow said...

My vet will usually mentions that he suspects FIV when a cat is sickly and has gum problems. Then just treat the symptoms and come back for injections when needed...no point testing.

17/3/07 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd test the cat if its lost a lot of weight suddenly, and what you mentioned veganmeow. The disease in itself is debilitating to the cat, and to yourself (the heartache of seeing a cat slowly having its life sap away).

Fiv, FeLV (feline leukiemia) spreads easily.
More than one of the cats i look after has passed away from FIV and FeLv. If you think you dont have the long term means to treat it, the best thing is to put it to sleep. never an easy choice.

17/3/07 9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to add to the post above, i'd not want other cats (in the colony or other colonies) to be infected as well, so that's why i test.

A reduce in the number of FeLv, Fiv cats around would help to reduce the spread of the disease.

vk

17/3/07 9:47 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Here's a link -
http://www.vet.cornell.edu/fhc/brochures/felv.html

Here's an interesting and very informative article - I attended a talk given by Dr Levy when she went through her model and it did seem to make a lot of sense :-

http://www.alleycat.org/pdf/test.pdf

17/3/07 10:01 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Also interesting to note is that from what Dr Levy found,high FELV rates were seen in colonies were people fed but didn't sterilise.

17/3/07 10:03 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Anonymous - it IS a tough decision. You might find this of interest too :-

http://www.alleycat.org/pdf/shouldwerelease.pdf

17/3/07 10:16 PM  
Anonymous veganmeow said...

I was quite taken aback when I first heard that in some part of USA stray cats are routinely tested when brought to the vet for sterilization and ‘euthanized’ if tested positive.
Euthanasia is meant as a release from suffering when a cat is sick and dying…not to take away what could be several years of health and well-being…not to mention those that are killed because of false positive results.

Those few sickly cats under my care usually keep to themselves and are not aggressive and so far the rest of the cats have remained healthy…I worry more about unsterilized cats coming in and starting fights…

Anonymous, I do feel the heartache when they get skinny and loose their appetite but then they start eating again and still seem to enjoy life…hope I will know when the time comes to consider euthanasia.

18/3/07 5:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dawn

Thanks for the info.

Just to make it clear, im not advocating testing for colonies, but rather cats that are very skinny, sick, and not responding to treatment.

Im also asking the question of whether to release a sick cat back to the streets because a)will it infect other cats b)will it be leading a comfortable life back there c)will i have the means to continue brining him to the vets for necessary treatment.

In the end, i'll make all these decision after all possible avenues have been used. If anyone is willing to take in a Fiv, Felv cat (i'll sponsor his food), please post here or mail dawn. thanks

vk

18/3/07 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Veganmeow

Thanks for your post. My cats at the colony are all sweeties and the sick one have his gang which he hangs out with sometimes. It will be a bit difficult to see how much time he does spent with the rest.

One thing i did learnt from my first experience was not to keep a pessimist view. If i look at it in a positive way and have used all my avenues, than i'd have done all my best for kitty.

vk

18/3/07 6:49 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

vk - those are valid considerations and of course a question of whether to release or not is a difficult one no matter what.

I have to say I have unfortunately never heard of anyone yet approach us to take FIV/FELV cats.

18/3/07 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The cat i took in about a yr ago had fiv. She couldn't walk n I took her to the vet thinking she was hit by a car or something. The vet said she's in her final stage and to PTS to ease her suffering. I gave her another week at the vet and then took her in. I am very happy to say now that she is happily staying with me and my cats. She can even run and jump :) I just make sure they don't go too near each other and fight. I caged her when I am not home. She's still not letting me carry her but there's many a times when she came to lick my nose when I was sleeping. So pls don't give up on fiv cats, give them and yourself another chance.

18/3/07 8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dawn, ditto


Anonymous, thanks for that positive story. Will keep in mind.

vk

21/3/07 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous

Most sorry but that reply doesn't do any justice to your story. Its a great positive story that gives a lot of hope. Thank you.

vk

21/3/07 6:09 PM  
Blogger Dawn said...

vk is right - Anonymous that truly was a lovely story. Thanks for sharing.

21/3/07 6:31 PM  

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