Determining the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) status of FIV-vaccinated cats using point-of-care antibody kits

Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 2015 Oct:42:43-52. doi: 10.1016/j.cimid.2015.07.004. Epub 2015 Aug 6.


This study challenges the commonly held view that the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection status of FIV-vaccinated cats cannot be determined using point-of-care antibody test kits due to indistinguishable antibody production in FIV-vaccinated and naturally FIV-infected cats. The performance of three commercially available point-of-care antibody test kits was compared in a mixed population of FIV-vaccinated (n=119) and FIV-unvaccinated (n=239) cats in Australia. FIV infection status was assigned by considering the results of all antibody kits in concert with results from a commercially available PCR assay (FIV RealPCR™). Two lateral flow immunochromatography test kits (Witness FeLV/FIV; Anigen Rapid FIV/FeLV) had excellent overall sensitivity (100%; 100%) and specificity (98%; 100%) and could discern the true FIV infection status of cats, irrespective of FIV vaccination history. The lateral flow ELISA test kit (SNAP FIV/FeLV Combo) could not determine if antibodies detected were due to previous FIV vaccination, natural FIV infection, or both. The sensitivity and specificity of FIV RealPCR™ for detection of viral and proviral nucleic acid was 92% and 99%, respectively. These results will potentially change the way veterinary practitioners screen for FIV in jurisdictions where FIV vaccination is practiced, especially in shelter scenarios where the feasibility of mass screening is impacted by the cost of testing.

Keywords: Cats; ELISA; FIV diagnosis; FIV vaccination; Feline immunodeficiency virus; Immunochromatography; PCR; Serology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Australia
  • Cats
  • Chromatography, Affinity / veterinary
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / veterinary
  • Feline Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / blood
  • Feline Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Feline Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology*
  • Immunodeficiency Virus, Feline / immunology*
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic / veterinary
  • Retroviridae Proteins, Oncogenic / immunology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Serologic Tests / veterinary*
  • Vaccination / veterinary
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology*


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Reagent Kits, Diagnostic
  • Retroviridae Proteins, Oncogenic
  • Viral Vaccines
  • feline leukemia virus vaccine