A prospective epidemiological, clinical, and clinicopathologic study of feline leukemia virus and feline immunodeficiency virus infection in 435 cats from Greece.
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Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are retroviruses causing significant morbidity and mortality in cats. The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiological, clinical and clinicopathologic aspects of FeLV and FIV infections in different populations of cats in Greece, including client-owned cats, stray cats and cats who live in catteries. A total of 435 cats were prospectively enrolled. Serological detection of FeLV antigen and FIV antibody was performed using a commercial in-house ELISA test kit. The results showed that 17 (3.9 %) and 40 (9.2 %) of the 435 cats were positive for FeLV antigen and FIV antibody, respectively, whereas 5 (1.1 %) had concurrent infection with FeLV and FIV. Factors that were associated with FeLV antigenemia, based on multivariate analysis, included vomiting, rhinitis, infection with FIV, neutropenia, decreased blood urea nitrogen and increased serum cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations. Factors associated with FIV seropositivity included male gender, older age, outdoor access, weight loss, fever, gingivostomatitis, skin lesions and/or pruritus and hyperglobulinemia. Various clinical signs and laboratory abnormalities were found to be significantly associated with retroviral infections, suggesting that current guidelines to test all sick cats should be followed, taking into particular consideration the high-risk groups of cats found in this study.