Use of tears for diagnosis of feline leukemia virus infection.

E. C. Hawkins, L. Johnson, N. C. Pedersen, S. Winston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A comparison was made of the use of serum, tears, and saliva for the detection of feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infection in cats. Cotton swabs were used to collect saliva, and tear-test strips were used to collect tears. Specimens were analyzed by a commercially available ELISA. Using a 10- to 15-minute specimen incubation period, FeLV was detected in 70% of the saliva specimens and in 73% of the tear specimens from viremic (serum-positive) cats. Feline leukemia virus antigen was not detected in saliva and tear specimens from serum-negative cats. The sensitivity of the tear assay was improved by increasing the incubation time to 24 hours. Tear strips could be air-dried and stored at room temperature for up to 7 days without any appreciable loss of activity. Client-owned and experimentally infected laboratory cats were tested for FeLV, using air-dried tear-test strips and a 24-hour incubation period. Tears were positive (contained FeLV antigen) in 65 of 72 (90%) serum-positive cats and did not contain antigen in 46 of 46 (100%) serum-negative cats. Results of ELISA obtained from serum and tears also were compared with results obtained from indirect fluorescent antibody testing of blood smears. Results of indirect fluorescent antibody and ELISA compared favorably with each other and with the results of tear testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1031-1034
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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