Renal lesions of nondomestic felids

Vet Pathol. 2011 May;48(3):698-705. doi: 10.1177/0300985810382089. Epub 2010 Sep 28.


To comprehensively evaluate the occurrence of renal lesions in a variety of nondomestic felids, necropsy cases from 1978 to 2008 were reviewed from a municipal zoo and a large cat sanctuary for those in which the kidneys were examined histologically. Seventy exotic felids were identified (25 tigers, 18 lions, 6 cougars, 5 leopards, 3 snow leopards, 3 clouded leopards, 3 Canadian lynx, 2 ocelots, 2 bobcats, 2 cheetahs, 1 jaguar), and their histologic renal lesions were evaluated and compared. The most common lesion was tubulointerstitial nephritis (TIN); 36 of 70 (51%) cats were affected to some degree. Lymphocytic interstitial nephritis was the most common lesion in the tigers (9 of 25, 36%) and was rarely seen in other species. Although the renal pelvis was not available for all cats, 28 of 47 (60%) had some degree of lymphocytic pyelitis. There was no significant association between the presence of pyelitis and that of TIN. Only 1 cat had pyelonephritis. Renal papillary necrosis was present in 13 of 70 (19%) cats and was significantly associated with historical nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug treatment (odds ratio, 7.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.9 to 26.8). Only 1 cat (lion) had amyloid accumulation, and it was restricted to the corticomedullary junction. Primary glomerular lesions were absent in all cats. Intraepithelial pigment was identified in many of the cats but was not correlated with severity of TIN. Despite several previous reports describing primary glomerular disease or renal amyloidosis in exotic felids, these lesions were rare to absent in this population.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Zoo
  • Felidae*
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / veterinary*
  • Retrospective Studies