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Incubation period for communicable kitty diseases? When will test be a...
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Incubation period for communicable kitty diseases? When will test be accurate?

I am considering getting another house kitty...I already have one house cat.  I am thinking of bringing in one that is currently a barn cat, and has been around some real "unhealthy" kitties, but he, himself, "looks" fine.  

I want to know, say, if I had him tested today.,.but he got "infected" yesterday....then the positivfe result would not show up yet,....so how long between actual date of exposure/infection and a true test result?  I just don't want to bring the new kitty in, with a seemingly negative result, then a few months down the road, find out for sure that indeed, all along, he was positive, and it is now showing itself...by now already having infected my currently healthy house cat.



Thanks.
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Well, firstly, I'd take him in right away because anything really contagious should certainly show up now, no matter when he was infected.  For example, a lot of parasites can spread very quickly and have no incubation period, the same goes for viruses like feline herpes.

If you are asking about feline leukemia or FeLV, well, for one thing you should remember that these conditions are not airborne - they only spread by fluid contact so if the cats  aren't fighting to the point of bringing blood (biting during fights is the largest risk factor for transmission), then it isn't that big of a risk  However, as far as incubation periods are concerned, with FeLV, it's pretty long, how long is something of a controversy.  There is also a dormancy period after initial transmission during which the cat generally does not "shed" the virus (spread the disease) and this period can least years.

For feline AIDS (FIV) the incubation period can be up to 6 years.  Again, biting is the biggest risk factor.

By the way, a cat with these diagnoses (positive tests) can live a happy life for years.  Of course there will probably be symptoms that would need treating, but a positive result does not equal a death sentence.  Just thought I'd mention it.

There are inoculations against these diseases that you should get for your new cat.  Certainly he needs to be neutered immediately and be given wormer and all the usual tests and shots, as well as a once-over exam from a good vet.

It's great to hear that you're taking in a stray, I wish more people did it.  I have four ex-strays plus I foster others from time to time and they do make wonderful friends!

Please let us know if we can help in any way.  Best of luck to you and your fuzzy pals!!
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