Association between oral health status and retrovirus test results in cats

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2014 Oct 15;245(8):916-22. doi: 10.2460/javma.245.8.916.


Objective: To determine associations between oral health status and seropositivity for FIV or FeLV in cats.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Animals: 5,179 cats.

Procedures: Veterinarians at veterinary clinics and animal shelters completed online training on oral conditions in cats and then scored oral health status of cats with no known history of vaccination against FIV. Age, sex, and results of an ELISA for retroviruses were recorded. Results were analyzed by means of standard logistic regression with binary outcome.

Results: Of 5,179 cats, 237 (4.6%) and 186 (3.6%) were seropositive for FIV and FeLV, respectively, and of these, 12 (0.2%) were seropositive for FIV and FeLV. Of all 5,179 cats, 1,073 (20.7%) had gingivitis, 576 (11.1%) had periodontitis, 203 (3.9%) had stomatitis, and 252 (4.9%) had other oral conditions (overall oral disease prevalence, 2,104/5,179 [40.6%]). Across all age categories, inflammatory oral disease was associated with a significantly higher risk of a positive test result for FIV, compared with the seropositivity risk associated with other oral diseases or no oral disease. Stomatitis was most highly associated with risk of FIV seropositivity. Cats with any oral inflammatory disease were more likely than orally healthy cats to have a positive test result for FeLV. Increasing age was associated with a higher prevalence of oral disease in retrovirus-seronegative cats.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Inflammatory oral disease was associated with an increased risk of seropositivity for retroviruses in naturally infected cats. Therefore, retroviral status of cats with oral inflammatory disease should be determined and appropriate management initiated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / virology*
  • Cats
  • Female
  • Immunodeficiency Virus, Feline / isolation & purification*
  • Lentivirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Lentivirus Infections / virology
  • Leukemia Virus, Feline / isolation & purification*
  • Male
  • Mouth Diseases / veterinary*
  • Mouth Diseases / virology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Retroviridae Infections / veterinary*
  • Retroviridae Infections / virology
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Tumor Virus Infections / veterinary
  • Tumor Virus Infections / virology