Feline spongiform encephalopathy

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Feline spongiform encephalopathy is a disease that affects the brains of felines. It is caused by proteins called prions.[1]


Feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE) is a prion disease thought to be related or identical to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).[2][3] This disease is known to affect domestic and captive feline species.[4] Lezmi S. et al. (2003) suggested that this infectious agent might be spread by both haematogenous and nervous pathways. Like BSE, this disease can take several years to develop. It is probable, but not proven, that the affected animals contract the disease by eating contaminated bovine meat.[5]

Clinical signs[edit]

Ataxia was observed to last for about 8 weeks in the affected animals. The ultimate result is death of the infected animals.[2]


This disease was first reported in domestic cats within the United Kingdom in 1990.[6][4] Since 1990, cases have been reported in other countries and other feline species in captivity have been reported to have contracted this disease.[4][7]


This disease can only be confirmed at the post-mortem, which includes identification of bilaterally symmetrical vacuolation of the neuropil and vacuolation in neurones. Lesions are likely to be found in basal ganglia, cerebral cortex and thalamus of the brain.


This is a terminal condition and there is currently no specific treatment for the disease.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Iulini, B; Cantile, C; Mandara, MT; Maurella, C; Loria, GR; Castagnaro, M; Salvadori, C; Porcario, C; Corona, C; Perazzini, AZ; Maroni, A; Caramelli, M; Casalone, C. "Neuropathology of italian cats in feline spongiform encephalopathy surveillance". Vet Pathol. 45: 626–33. doi:10.1354/vp.45-5-626. PMID 18725465.
  3. ^ "Possible Case of Maternal Transmission of Feline Spongiform Encephalopathy in a Captive Cheetah". doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006929.
  4. ^ a b c "Biochemical and immunohistochemical characterization of feline spongiform encephalopathy in a German captive cheetah" (PDF). doi:10.1099/vir.0.022103-0.
  5. ^ "Mad Cow Disease and Cats". College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University. 15 Nov 2006.
  6. ^ "ARCHIVE: BSE: Other TSEs". Archived from the original on 2012-08-17. Retrieved 2012-09-02.
  7. ^ "First case of feline spongiform encephalopathy in a captive cheetah born in France: PrPsc analysis in various tissues revealed unexpected targeting of kidney and adrenal gland". doi:10.1007/s00418-003-0524-5.