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Progressive neurological disorder of unknown aetiology in Scottish cats

L. De Risio, R. Brown, B. Tennant, A. Sparkes, L. Matiasek, A. de Stefani, H. Weissenböck, K. Matiasek

INFLAMMATORY CNS diseases in cats are most commonly caused by feline coronavirus; other known causes include other viruses, protozoa, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Lymphohistiocytic meningoencephalomyelitis usually indicates viral infection, but in such cases the pathogen is often not identified. This retrospective study investigated the clinical, diagnostic and pathological findings in cats with a progressive, adult-onset lymphohistiocytic meningoencephalomyelitis associated with distinctive neurological signs.

The medical records of 21 cats presented to two veterinary practices in north-east Scotland between 2001 and 2010 were reviewed. All the cats had outdoor access and had been active hunters. There was no apparent seasonality to the presentations. In each case, the cat presented with behavioural changes, a stiff, extended tail and a spastic and ataxic gait. The mean age at onset of signs was nine years. Haematology and serum biochemistry revealed no specific abnormalities, and serology and cerebrospinal fluid analysis did not reveal involvement of pathogens commonly associated with neurological disease. The neurological dysfunction worsened over time and 19 cats were euthanased. Postmortem examination of …

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