I'm looking for guidance from those who have more experience than I do with TNR programs. Our shelter has operated a TNR program in the past with our local vet clinic, but are now blessed to have our own space and vet/tech to work with us. We have held two clinics this year in our rural community and are working with some of our local community cat enthusiasts. The issue we have run into is when we test a cat that clearly looks like an FIV carrier, they are positive and we euthanize. We obviously hate to do it, but our vet feels strongly and we know that it is for the best. The folks that help us trap are often very upset by this and after a full weekend of TNR our exhausted crew then has to deal with unpleasant emails about the sadness we created by this. It feels so defeating!The question is, how do other places deal with this or head it off?Signed,Pulling my fur out!
This is tough and i sure wouldn't make a judgment call. Veterinarians and Rescuer often fell differently on this subject. When GCCCP added a veterinarian to our board this was a bone of contention but it was decided that cats returned to original locations would not be test. The locale Humane Society doesn't even offer it on the intake form at our feral spay\neuter clinic anymore. I don't know why they took it off but FIV seems to have been found as docile in its affects and transmission, compared to FLV. Many adoption centers adopt out FIV cats even into homes with other mellow cats.
We test adult friendly free-roaming cats if we are going to adopt them out. We also have literature that explains the options on the subject, advising adopter to check in with their own vets.
Recently i found a cat I thought we were going adopt out so we had him tested, He was positive for FIV, not FLV. The owner decided to keep him and didn't care he had FIV.
GCCCP always works with colony caregivers and we go by what they want. We are not here to judge.
On Thursday, April 20, 2023, 7:57 PM, Donna Brown via Maddie's Pet Forum <Mail@maddiesfund.org> wrote:
This is tough and i sure wouldn't make a judgment call. Veterinarians and Rescuer often fell differently on this subject. When GCCCP added a... -posted to the "Animal Welfare Professionals" community Animal Welfare Professionals Post New Discussion Post New Discussion via Email Manage Profile Listen to Candid Conversations Podcast Re: TNR...a cat program with a people problem! Reply to Discussion Reply to Discussion via Email Reply Privately to Author Reply Privately to Author via Email Apr 20, 2023 4:14 PM Donna Brown This is tough and i sure wouldn't make a judgment call. Veterinarians and Rescuer often fell differently on this subject. When GCCCP added a veterinarian to our board this was a bone of contention but it was decided that cats returned to original locations would not be test. The locale Humane Society doesn't even offer it on the intake form at our feral spay\neuter clinic anymore. I don't know why they took it off but FIV seems to have been found as docile in its affects and transmission, compared to FLV. Many adoption centers adopt out FIV cats even into homes with other mellow cats. We test adult friendly free-roaming cats if we are going to adopt them out. We also have literature that explains the options on the subject, advising adopter to check in with their own vets. Recently i found a cat I thought we were going adopt out so we had him tested, He was positive for FIV, not FLV. The owner decided to keep him and didn't care he had FIV. GCCCP always works with colony caregivers and we go by what they want. We are not here to judge.------------------------------Donna BrownGarden City Community Cats Project------------------------------ Reply to Discussion Reply to Discussion via Email Reply Privately to Author Reply Privately to Author via Email View Thread Like Forward Flag as Inappropriate
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We operate an animal shelter and have an active community and TNR spay/neuter program. We do not test shelter animals for FIV/FELV unless we have reason to believe that the cat needs it. I can't imagine a scenario where we would start to test community cats that we are working with via TNR - the cost would be prohibitive for us. I will let veterinary medical professionals weigh in on the scientific rationale regarding FIV/FELV, but we have very low occurrence of FELV (I've never seen it in an animal at our and shelter) and FIV positive cats can typically live long, healthy lives with low risk of transmission to other animals. If you are struggling with this being a non-negotiable with your veterinarian, I know that there are resources or even colleagues out there who might be able to offer you some support and additional information!Good luck!
To Anonymous...... Best Practice is to NOT EVER test community cats through TNR/TNVR process for FIV/FeLV. Neither of these are considered a death sentence given all the research conducted in last few years. If you research Alley Cat Allies, ASPCA, Community Cats Podcast and other national organizations euthanasia is NOT the answer, is NOT for the best and your veterinarians need to become better informed about community cats.
Also it is absolutely CRITICAL to partner with your TNR experts who are working very hard to SAVE lives. And they most likely will have the most up to date information on TNR practices. Please, please, please discontinue testing community cats and euthanizing only for a positive result. It has also been proven there is a very large percentage that have false negative results. A FeVL, FIV positive result could also mean they have been EXPOSED to the viruses but do not have it active in their systems. Please educate your current vet staff or consider switching to another clinic who understands/supports TNR efforts and saving lives.
Also wanted to say: there are LOADS of resources on FIV/FELV testing right here in the forum/library that could be helpful for you.
Hello, Anonymous! I am a veterinarian at a rescue that does a fair bit of TNR (believe it or not, I'd like to do more!). I will echo Cindy's excellent sentiments. FIV in particular has been shown to be such a low morbidity/very low mortality virus that we would never euthanize a cat based on a positive test. And with the fluid nature of FeLV infection, a positive test could mean so many things at that one snapshot in time, including later elimination of the virus. We do not test TNR cats for FeLV or FIV unless the caretaker specifically asks (and pays) for it, and even then, we make it clear ahead of time that we will not euthanize a positive cat. (Usually, a caretaker asks because the "feral" cat is actually quite personable and they are considering taking him/her into their home.) We are a rescue that tests our adoptable cats on intake, but again, never to euthanize; we are fortunate to have one adoption room for FeLV+ cats, and tractable FIV+ cats are in community rooms also. I have one of those FIV+ cats!Finally, the compassion fatigue of your trappers and team is an important consideration. We have a technician that came to us from another facility where positive cats (FeLV and FIV) were routinely euthanized, and it really made a significant impact on her. She is thrilled to work in a place with a completely different philosophy about these viruses. Good luck with your situation. Please reach out to us all here for help. It's a great group!Your point about
Good day, where are you located? I have been doing TNR Trapping and Return since 2016. I am from Jamaica, Queens, New York, in New York City. We don't test community cats unless they are friendly and can be adopted out. Therefore when we do test cats and they are friendly if they are FELV we can put them up for adoption in a single cat home. Therefore, FELV will be adopted into a home by itself. FIV could be adopted amongst other cats or individually. FIV is only transmitted if they bite each other seriously. That is why TNR is so important as it stops the transmission of FIV. FIV is no longer an automatic death sentence.
I hope that the information is helpful. Please ask any questions for me to clarify.
This can be a tough situation. Having worked both in a spay/neuter clinic and in the field trapping cats, I can see both sides. I deeply respect veterinarians, but sometimes they aren't aware of changes in the field of veterinary medicine. The science on retroviruses, such as FIV, has changed a lot in recent years. The leading feline and shelter veterinary organizations recommend against testing healthy cats in TNR programs. FIV is also no longer considered a reason for euthanasia, as FIV+ cats can live long, normal lives. Another change based on newer science is that FIV+ cats can live with FIV- cats without transmitting the disease. Mating and fighting (deep bite wounds) are the main way FIV is passed on, thus neutering the cats greatly reduces opportunity for transmission. Also consider that an intact FIV+ cat has already exposed the other cats in his neighborhood, so returning him after neutering him isn't going to make a difference. Here are some documents that may be of interest to your veterinary team:2020 AAFP Feline Retrovirus Management
What is recommended for TNR programs and management of community cats?
https://www.sheltermedicine.com/library/resources/?r=what-is-recommended-for-tnr-programs-and-management-of-community-catsIt is unfortunate that the trappers you work with are sending negative emails. They often don't recognize the emotional toll this takes on the vet staff. But understand they are doing it because they are also having to deal with the emotion of loosing a cats. And more. When you work really hard to develop a relationship with the people feeding cats in a community, convince them to let you take their cats away for surgery, and promise they will come back....and then they don't. That's not good. While the feeders may not be the legal "owners" of the cats, they are invested. The trapper may not be able to regain their trust to be able to trap the rest of the cats in that area for TNR. The population grows, more kittens come into the shelter, and no one wins. My advice is to have a discussion with your veterinary team about the latest guidelines for FIV testing, especially with regards to TNR programs. Make sure any policy you have is based on current science. If your vet continues to insist on testing and euthanizing FIV+ cats, make this policy clear to your trappers so they can decide if they want to bring those cats to your clinic or find an alternative. If you'd like more resources on this, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'll do my best to point you in the right direction.
I hope this 3-part article on FIV and its references is helpful:https://kittencoalition.org/understanding-feline-immunodeficiency-virus-fiv-transmission-and-testing/https://kittencoalition.org/understanding-feline-immunodeficiency-virus-fiv-phases-and-symptoms/https://kittencoalition.org/understanding-feline-immunodeficiency-virus-fiv-prevention-and-support/
------------------------------DanielleBaysOriginal Message:Sent: 04-20-2023 08:41 AMFrom: Anonymous MemberSubject: TNR...a cat program with a people problem!This message was posted by a user wishing to remain anonymous
The TNR programs in my area do not combo test unless a cat is obviously sick and in need of extra care/diagnostics. The thought behind it is that after spay/neuter, there will be less fighting and no mating, so any disease is not likely to continue spreading. FIV is of much less concern so it is unfortunate that any kitty would be euthanized for that diagnosis.
The TNR clinics here in Baltimore do not test for FIV & FeLV. Which in some cases are good because it means the cat can go back and live the remainder of his life.If we get a friendly with an eartip we do combo test him before adopting him out into a home.
Others have mentioned just changing your policies on this, but if that is not possible to do and if this is your veterinarian's policy and testing is required, then caretakers must opt in to this procedure and it may even be best to briefly discuss this with caretakers at check in so that they have forewarning of this possibility. It is best that all staff are thoroughly trained on addressing why this policy is in place so they can more readily answer colony caretaker concerns. If you manage expectations and keep your staff trained up, it can make the follow up conversations easier.
Our local HQHVSN Clinic tests ONLY on cats that are exhibiting multiple symptoms, and will then euthanize if positive. This is stated on the release form that the caregiver signs before the cats are seen for surgery. If someone is worried, they may recommend they take the cat to their veterinarian.This being said, we have had multiple cats not being in poor enough condition to warrant a test, then become friendly, to which we work on getting into an adoption venue. Some of our vet work we have done before transfer is getting the cat tested, and some have tested positive. We have been able to transfer multiple FIV and FeLV cats into adoption venues and other rescues for successful adoption. Regarding ferals, if they are sick enough to get tested at clinic, they are euthanized as they are already having multiple symptoms which are already impacting their quality of life.We have had caregivers that are upset and sad, but we go over this when they sign the Authorization and Release form for their cats to be seen at clinic and that mitigates this almost 100% of the time. And for anyone who has experienced getting a feral cat in end stage organ failure, that is not a pleasant experience, and this is what we try to prevent. #rescueisn'talwayspretty
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