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ABSTRACT OF THE WEEK

BMC veterinary research
Volume 19 | Issue 1 (March 2023)

Wavy changes in the whiskers of domestic cats are correlated with feline leukemia virus infection.

BMC Vet Res. March 2023;19(1):58.
Masataka Morishita1, Yuji Sunden2, Misaki Horiguchi3, Hirosei Sakoya4, Mana Yokogawa5, Hiroyuki Ino6, Satoshi Une7, Mutsumi Kawata8, Taisei Hosoido9, Takehito Morita10
1 Niihama Animal Hospital, 2-1-11 Wakamizu Niihama, Ehime, 792-0017, Japan.; 2 Laboratory of Veterinary Pathology, Joint Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, 4-101 Koyama-Minami, Tottori, 680-8553, Japan. sunden@tottori-u.ac.jp.; 3 Laboratory of Veterinary Pathology, Joint Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, 4-101 Koyama-Minami, Tottori, 680-8553, Japan.; 4 Niihama Animal Hospital, 2-1-11 Wakamizu Niihama, Ehime, 792-0017, Japan.; 5 Niihama Animal Hospital, 2-1-11 Wakamizu Niihama, Ehime, 792-0017, Japan.; 6 Niihama Animal Hospital, 2-1-11 Wakamizu Niihama, Ehime, 792-0017, Japan.; 7 Neovets VR Center, 3-8-15 Nakamichi, Higashinari, Osaka, 537-0025, Japan.; 8 Neovets VR Center, 3-8-15 Nakamichi, Higashinari, Osaka, 537-0025, Japan.; 9 Neovets VR Center, 3-8-15 Nakamichi, Higashinari, Osaka, 537-0025, Japan.; 10 Laboratory of Veterinary Pathology, Joint Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Agriculture, Tottori University, 4-101 Koyama-Minami, Tottori, 680-8553, Japan.
© 2023. The Author(s).

Abstract

BACKGROUND:Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a retrovirus with global impact on the health of domestic cats and is usually examined by serology. In our daily clinical practice, we noticed that cats infected with FeLV often possess wavy whiskers (sinus hairs on the face). To investigate the relationship between wavy whiskers (WW) and FeLV infection, the association between the presence or absence of wavy changes in whiskers and serological FeLV infection was examined in a total of 358 cats including 56 cats possessing WW, using the chi-square test. The results of blood tests from 223 cases were subjected to multivariate analysis (logistic analysis). Isolated whiskers were observed under light microscopy, and upper lip tissues (proboscis) were subjected to histopathological and immunohistochemical analyses.
RESULTS:The prevalence of WW was significantly correlated with FeLV antigen positivity in the blood. Of 56 cases with WW, 50 (89.3%) were serologically positive for FeLV. The significant association between WW and serological FeLV positivity was also confirmed by multivariate analysis. In WW, narrowing, degeneration, and tearing of the hair medulla were observed. Mild infiltration of mononuclear cells in the tissues, but no degeneration or necrosis, was found. By immunohistochemistry, FeLV antigens (p27, gp70 and p15E) were observed in various epithelial cells including the sinus hair follicular epithelium of the whisker.
CONCLUSIONS:The data suggest that the wavy changes in whiskers, a unique and distinctive external sign on a cat's face, were associated with FeLV infection.

Keywords
FeLV; Feline leukemia virus; Pathology; Wavy whisker (WW);

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