Feline Leukemia Virus in a Black-Footed Cat (Felis nigripes)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2010
Natalie A. Padgurskis1; Jennifer Langan1,2, DVM, DACZM; Karen Terio3,4, DVM, PhD, DACVP; Natalie Mylniczenko2, DVM, DACZM
1Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA; 2The Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo, Brookfield, IL, USA; 3Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of IL, Urbana, IL, USA; 4University of Illinois Zoological Pathology Program, Maywood, IL, USA


Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is an RNA retrovirus, which can insert into its host’s genome, allowing persistent infection. This report documents suspected diminished immunocompetence due to FeLV infection and concurrent infection with multiple common feline pathogens in a captive-bred juvenile black-footed cat. Using a feline upper respiratory pathogen PCR panel, presence of feline calicivirus was confirmed with observation of systemic signs of the disease. Incidental detection of Mycoplasma felis and Bordetella bronchiseptica was performed using the same panel. In addition, this individual had clinical signs of pancreatic insufficiency and gastritis/enteritis. The gastritis of multiple inflammatory cell types was identified histologically both antemortem and postmortem, along with presence of gastric Helicobacter spp. A chronic hematuria of unknown etiology also was observed until time of euthanasia. Although presence of FeLV was confirmed on serum ELISA and bone marrow IFA, no gross or histopathologic lesions attributable to FeLV infection were found upon necropsy. To the author’s knowledge, this is the first report of FeLV infection in this species. The outcome of this case stresses the importance of pest control and rigid preventive medicine and quarantine practices in zoos.


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Natalie A. Padgurskis
Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Illinois
Urbana, IL, USA

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