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Immunohistochemical screening for viral agents in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with myelopathy
  1. S. Shibly, MVM1,
  2. P. Schmidt, DVM, DipECVP1,
  3. N. Robert, DVM, DipACVP2,
  4. C. Walzer, DVM3 and
  5. A. Url, DVM1
  1. 1 Department of Pathobiology, Institute of Pathology and Forensic Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinärplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria
  2. 2 Department for Zoo and Wildlife Pathology, Institute for Animal Pathology, University of Berne, Länggassstrasse 122, CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland
  3. 3 Research Institute of Animal Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Savoyenstrasse 1, A-1160 Vienna, Austria


Numerous cases of acute-onset progressive ataxia, hindlimb paresis and paralysis of unknown aetiology occurred during 1993 to 2003 in cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) within the European Endangered Species Programme (eep). This study describes the immunohistochemical investigation of a possible viral aetiology of the ‘cheetah myelopathy’. Antibodies to feline herpesvirus type 1, canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus and Borna disease virus were applied to formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded brain and spinal cord sections from 25 affected cheetahs aged between three-and-a-half months and 13 years. Using the avidin-biotin complex technique, none of the antibodies gave positive immunosignals in either the brain or the spinal cord tissue.

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