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Outbreak of dysautonomia (Key-Gaskell syndrome) in a closed colony of pet cats
  1. T. A. Cave, BVSc, MRCVS1,
  2. C. Knottenbelt, BVSc, MRCVS1,
  3. D. J. Mellor, BVMS, MRCVS1,
  4. F. Nunn, BSc2,
  5. P. Nart, MRCVS1 and
  6. S. W. J. Reid, BVMS, PhD, MRCVS1
  1. 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, University of Glasgow Veterinary School, Bearsden Road, Bearsden, Glasgow G61 IQH
  2. 2 Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Edinburgh Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh EH8 9AG
  1. Vale Referrals, Stinchcombe, Dursley, Gloucestershire GLI 1 6AJ
  2. Department of Statistics and Modelling Science, University of Strathclyde, Livingstone Tower, Glasgow G1 lXW


Six of eight pet cats in a closed colony developed overt signs of dysautonomia over a period of seven days; two of them died and one was euthanased. Dysautonomia was confirmed histopathologically in two of these cats, and in the others the diagnosis was based on the characteristic clinical and radiographic findings. In the two apparently unaffected cats abnormal oesophageal motility was demonstrated by fluoroscopy, suggesting that there may be a subclinical form of the disease. The surviving cats had higher and more variable heart rates (mean 165 bpm) than the non-survivors (mean 121 bpm).

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