Background: The detection of typical lesions and feline coronavirus (FCoV) antigen in tissues is the only conclusive method for making a diagnosis of feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). A positive result using Tru-cut biopsy (TCB) and fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) has high diagnostic specificity, but information about the capacity of these techniques to correctly identify cats with FIP lesions is not available.
Objectives: The diagnostic sensitivity of TCB and FNAB for detecting liver and kidney histologic lesions caused by FIP was evaluated.
Methods: TCB and FNAB specimens collected mainly at necropsy from 25 cats with FIP were analyzed. Diagnostic sensitivity was calculated on the basis of the number of false-negative and true-positive specimens, compared with the number of organs bearing histologic lesions of FIP.
Results: Diagnostic sensitivity was higher for hepatic TCB (64%) and FNAB (82%) than for renal (39% and 42%, respectively) procedures. A high percentage of renal cytologic and TCB specimens were inadequate. Combined analysis of TCB and FNAB specimens collected from the same organ increased the diagnostic sensitivity for liver (86%) and kidney (48%). The sensitivity of immunohistochemical/cytochemical analysis was low (11-38% depending on the technique), probably due to variable distribution of feline coronavirus in the lesions.
Conclusion: Biopsy of liver and kidney can correctly identify FIP lesions. However, false-negative results or inadequate samples occur with moderate frequency, especially for immunochemical analysis. Diagnostic sensitivity may be increased when both TCB and FNAB specimens from the same organ are examined.