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Multicenter Study
, 45 (5), 626-33

Neuropathology of Italian Cats in Feline Spongiform Encephalopathy Surveillance

Multicenter Study

Neuropathology of Italian Cats in Feline Spongiform Encephalopathy Surveillance

B Iulini et al. Vet Pathol.


Feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE) is a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy associated with the consumption of feedstuffs contaminated with tissue from bovine spongiform encephalopathy-affected cattle and characterized by the accumulation in the central nervous system of an abnormal isoform of the prion protein (PrP(sc)). Clinically, it presents as a progressive fatal neurologic syndrome that is not easily distinguished from other feline neurologic conditions. Most cases of FSE have been reported in England, where it was first detected in 1990, but a few cases have been reported from other European countries. To identify possible cases of FSE in Italy, the Italian Ministry of Health funded a 2-year surveillance project during which the brains from 110 domestic cats with neurologic signs were evaluated histologically for spongiform encephalopathy and immunohistochemically to detect PrP(sc). Although no cases of FSE were found, the study proved useful in monitoring the Italian cat population for other neurologic diseases: neoplasia (21.8%), toxic-metabolic encephalopathy (18.2%), granulomatous encephalitis (15.5%), suppurative encephalitis (4.6%), trauma (3.6%), circulatory disorders (3.6%), degeneration (2.7%), nonsuppurative encephalitis (2.7%), and neuromuscular diseases (1.8%). No histologic lesions were found in 20% of the brains, and samples from 5.5% of the cats were rejected as unsuitable.

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