The world is a strange, strange place. Mysteries and odd phenomenons pop up all the time. The Loch Ness monster. Bigfoot. Crop circles. Socks that disappear in the dryer. And phantom FIV.
Phantom FIV? Never heard of it? Neither had we. Until Nadya.
Okay, so phantom FIV isn't a real thing and it doesn't really describe what Nadya went through. But let's make one thing perfectly clear: Nadya does not have FIV. Say what? That's right. Nadya does not have FIV.
For those that have been following Nadya and the cookie and candy kittens on her web cam, you are very well aware that Nadya was diagnosed with FIV back in early May. For those who are new to the story, Nadya kept having mysterious bouts of extremely high fevers - 105+ (normal cat temp range is 100.4-102.5). She would stop eating (but would continue to nurse her kittens). She was hospitalized twice for several days, hooked up to IVs and pumped full of antibiotics. Her fevers would break; she would be fine for a few weeks and then the fever would return.
She's had several FIV tests. The standard one is called the Elisa and Nadya had that test performed three times. All came back negative. She had the Western Blot test, which is a more comprehensive test than the Elisa snap test. It came back negative. Finally, she had the PCR test performed. The PCR test is the mother of all blood work tests. It is the definitive test, the most comprehensive. It came back positive. It was assumed that the reason the other tests came back negative was because the FIV antibodies were still fighting the virus, that she was newly infected with FIV.
When Nadya had her spay surgery, the Elisa snap test was performed again. It's standard procedure for FR at the time of spay/neuter surgeries. It came back negative. Wait. Hold the phone. This test was performed after the PCR test. It should have returned a positive result, too, right?
Our vet called the University of Minnesota to discuss this odd phenomenon. Six FIV tests, five of which came back negative. Only one came back positive. Sure, it was the most comprehensive of all the tests but why did the most recent one come back negative? The University was intrigued. They decided to do a case study on Nadya. More blood tests for Nadya.
After three weeks of anxiously waiting for the results, the news was startling. That one test that came back positive was re-done. This time, it came back negative. Nadya does not have FIV.
So why did that test come back positive? There are many theories running amuck. Perhaps the test was not done properly or somehow got tainted. Perhaps Nadya was stressed and threw a false positive. Perhaps other cats who were jealous of Nadya's celebrity conspired with the lab and paid them to falsify the report. Perhaps. But not likely. Maybe even Bigfoot played a role in this whole thing. The only thing that matters is that Nadya is not FIV+. As her foster caregiver, I can wipe away a few tears and sigh with relief. My beautiful girl will live a long, healthy life. Now she just needs to find a forever home to live her long life in.
If you would like to adopt the Mother - and Patient - of the Year, please call Joan at 651-705-6264.