During 2009–2010, cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) in two collections (sites 1 and 2) in Dubai (UAE) showed clinical signs consistent with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).1 A total of fourteen animals presented with diarrhea, lethargy, anorexia, weight loss, abdominal distention and/or regurgitation. Clinical examination and sample collection were performed under general anesthetic (intramuscular 2.5 mg/kg ketamine (Keta-inject 10%, Dopharma, Raamsdonksveer, NL) plus 0.07 mg/kg medetomidine hydrochloride (Domitor, 1 mg/ml, Orion Pharma, Newbury, UK) reversed with 0.35 mg/kg atipamezole (Antisedan, 5 mg/ml, Orion Pharma, Newbury, UK). Diagnosis of FIP was also supported by electrophoresis (EP), hematology and biochemistry findings such as anemia (46%), hyperproteinemia (69%), hypoalbuminemia (54%) often combined with hyperglobulinemia (54%) causing a decreased albumin-globulin ratio (38%), pronounced leucocytosis (69%) with neutrophilia (38%) and lymphopenia (54%).2 Unfortunately no records were made of animals with transient diarrhea so a morbidity estimation cannot be made. However, mortality after only 1 y was 32% and 50% in sites 1 and 2 respectively. The majority of deaths occurred amongst young cheetahs (75% <3 y) and male cheetahs, with 43% and 75% of the total male population succumbing to the infection in sites 1 and 2 respectively. Compared to this, the female death toll was significantly lower with 18% in site 1 and 33% in site 2. Postmortem findings confirmed FIP in 77% of the animals that died during this 12-month period. Sequential testing of surviving cheetahs was done using rapid FIP snap tests, coronavirus immunocomplex and EP, and the results will hopefully contribute to the FIP diagnostic puzzle.
1. Addie D, Belak S, Boucraut-Baralon C, Egberink H, Frymus T, Gruffydd-Jones T, Hartmann K, Hosie MJ, Lloret A, Lutz H, Marsilio F, Pennisi MG, Radford AD, Thiry E, Truyen U, Horzinek MC. Feline infectious peritonitis ABCD guidelines on prevention and management. J Feline Med Surg. 2009;11:594–604.
2. Paltrinieri S, Grieco V, Comazzi S, Cammarata Parodi M. Laboratory profiles in cats with different pathological and immunohistochemical findings due to feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). J Feline Med Surg. 2001;3:149–159.