Polioencephalitis in Cats - Journal Abstracts

Vet Pathol 1981 Mar;18(2):170-80

Non-suppurative encephalomyelitis in cats suggestive of a viral origin.

Hoff EJ, Vandevelde M.

In 10 of 16 domestic cats with spontaneous non-suppurative encephalomyelitis, lesions were multifocal but relatively few and were considered nonspecific as to cause, although viral agents could not be excluded. Six cats had polioencephalomyelitis or polioencephalitis suggestive of viral infection. The clinical and morphological features are compared with those of previous reports of feline encephalitis possibly of viral origin. Some previously reported epidemiological and serological surveys suggest a possible role for arboviruses.


Vet Pathol 1979 Jul;16(4):420-7

Polioencephalomyelitis in cats.

Vandevelde M, Braund KG.

Six cats with chronic progressive neurologic signs of ataxia, paresis, tremors, pupillary abnormalities and seizures had polioencephalomyelitis of probable viral origin. Lesions were most severe in the spinal cord. The uniformity in
distribution and nature of the lesions in all six cats strongly suggested a common cause. The condition was compared with other viral infections of known and unknown cause.


J Clin Microbiol 1995 Jun;33(6):1668-9

Description of feline nonsuppurative meningoencephalomyelitis ("staggering disease") and studies of its etiology.

Nowotny N, Weissenbock H.

Institute of Virology, Veterinary University of Vienna, Austria.

A spontaneous neurological disease in domestic cats is described. The clinical signs included staggering gait, hind limb ataxia, and paresis. Histologically, a nonsuppurative meningoencephalomyelitis with a characteristic distribution pattern was found, indicating a viral etiology. In serum samples from diseased cats, antibodies to Borna disease virus were demonstrated.


J Comp Pathol 1992 Nov;107(4):411-25

Feline non-suppurative meningoencephalomyelitis. A clinical and pathological study.

Lundgren AL.

Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Swedish University of
Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.

A spontaneous neurological disease in cats characterized by behavioural and motor disturbances was investigated by clinical, morphological and immunological methods. Neuropathological examination showed a marked inflammatory reaction in
the cerebral leptomeninges and the grey matter of the brain. In the white matter, the reaction was moderate. The changes consisted of perivascular cuffing by mononuclear cells and neuronal damage. The brain stem (thalamus, mesencephalon, caudal colliculus) was most severely affected. The spinal cord and its leptomeninges were involved to a lesser degree. The histopathological picture as well as the laboratory findings suggests a viral cause of the disease. The morphology of the disease and serological as well as immunohistochemical results indicate that this disorder is different from previously known feline viral encephalitides.

J Small Anim Pract 1995 Feb;36(2):57-64

Encephalomyelopathy in young cats.

Palmer AC, Cavanagh JB.

Wellcome Laboratory for Comparative Neurology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Cambridge, London.

Nineteen cats, aged three to 16 months, developed neurological signs including hindleg paralysis, head shaking, nystagmus, defective vision and reduced proprioception. Most of the animals were in cat colonies in research centres and were derived from specific pathogen-free stock. One was referred from veterinary practice. Over 40 per cent of litters could be affected constituting a serious commercial loss. Wallerian degeneration affected long tracts in the spinal cord and variously in the brain stem and cerebral white matter. In seven animals there was loss of Purkinje cells in the cerebellum and in eight there was
neuronal loss in the spinal cord. Gliosis accompanied all changes. Although no viral agent was isolated the clinical pattern of the disease and evidence from other cases reported in the literature suggest an infectious cause.


Vet Immunol Immunopathol 1999 May;68(2-4):241-53

Peripheral and intracerebral T cell immune response in cats naturally infected with Borna disease virus.

Berg AL, Johannisson A, Johansson M, Hein A, Berg M, Dorries R.

Department of Pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.

Borna disease virus (BDV) is a neurotropic agent with capacity to cause encephalomyelitis in a wide range of animal species, including horses and cats. Recent studies also point to a link between BDV and human neuropsychiatric disorders. The pathogenesis of Borna disease (BD) has been proposed to be immune-mediated, mainly through the effects of cytotoxic T cells. We used flow cytometric analysis in order to characterize the peripheral and intracerebral T cell immune response in cats naturally infected with BDV. Our results show the presence of two different CD8+ cell populations (CD8+low and CD8+high) in the blood, spleen and brain of these cats. In the brain, CD8+low cells predominated over CD8+high cells. Since CD8+low cells have been suggested to represent a non-MHC-restricted T cell population, the recruitment of such cells to the
brains of BDV-infected cats could possibly be of importance for the clearance of virus from neurones.


J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997 Jan 1;210(1):65-71

Diagnostic evaluation of cats with seizure disorders: 30 cases (1991-1993).

Quesnel AD, Parent JM, McDonell W, Percy D, Lumsden JH.

Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Canada.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate causes of seizure disorders in cats.

DESIGN: Case series.

ANIMALS: 30 cats referred to the Ontario Veterinary College for recurrent seizures.

PROCEDURES: Signalment and seizure pattern were evaluated. Diagnostic procedures included physical, neurologic, and fundic examinations; CBC; serum biochemical analyses, including determination of pre- and postprandial bile acid concentrations; urinalysis; serologic assays for FeLV and feline immunodeficiency virus, feline infectious peritonitis, and Toxoplasma
gondii, magnetic resonance imaging of the brain; CSF analysis; and neuropathologic examination of euthanatized cats and of surgical biopsy specimens.

RESULTS: All cats were found to have structural brain diseases; nonsuppurative meningoencephalitis of unknown cause was found in 14 cats, feline ischemic encephalopathy in 6, meningioma in 2, polycythemia vera with secondary brain lesions in 2, posttraumatic epilepsy in 1, and cerebral abscess in 1. A definitive diagnosis could not be reached in 4 cats.

CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS:  The most common cause of seizures in cats is structural brain disease. Structural brain lesions often can be detected on the basis of seizure pattern and results of neurologic examination. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis and brain imaging are essential to determine the cause of these lesions. Causes of seizures found in the cats of this study differ from those reported to be the most common. Nonsuppurative meningoencephalitis of unknown origin appears to be a frequent cause of neurologic disorders in cats, including seizure disorders. Feline ischemic encephalopathy appears to exist in a milder form than the classic disease and may be a common cause of seizures in cats.

Can Vet J 1994 Feb;35(2):103-10

Clinical, cerebrospinal fluid, and histological data from twenty-seven cats with primary inflammatory disease of the central nervous system.

Rand JS, Parent J, Percy D, Jacobs R.

Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph.

The purpose of this report is to present the clinical, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and histological data from 27 cats with inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The cats were part of a study of 61 cats admitted to two
university clinics over an eight-year period because of signs of CNS disease. The most frequent diseases were feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) (12/27) and suspected viral disease other than FIP (10/27). Typical CSF findings in cats with FIP were a protein concentration of greater than 2 g/L (200 mg/dL) and a white cell count of over 100 cells/microL, which consisted predominantly of neutrophils. In contrast, the CSF of cats with suspected viral disease had a protein concentration of less than 1 g/L (100 mg/dL) and a total white cell count of less than 50 cells/microL. In general, cats with FIP or suspected viral
disease were less than four years of age. Neurological signs were usually multifocal in cats with FIP, but focal in cats with suspected viral disease. The CSF findings were variable in five other inflammatory diseases represented. Two cats with protozoan infection had normal CSF total cell counts but abnormal differential counts. The CSF findings were invaluable in differentiating FIP from other causes of inflammatory CNS disease.

J Gen Virol 1995 Sep;76 ( Pt 9):2215-22

Staggering disease in cats: isolation and characterization of the feline Borna disease virus.

Lundgren AL, Zimmermann W, Bode L, Czech G, Gosztonyi G, Lindberg R, Ludwig H.

Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Swedish University of
Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.

A Borna disease virus (BDV)-like agent was isolated from the central nervous system (CNS) of cats with a spontaneous non-suppurative encephalomyelitis ('staggering disease'). In contrast to the rabbit-adapted BDV strain V, which can be propagated in several primary and permanent cell cultures, the cat virus grew only in embryonic mink brain cells. Infection of adult Wistar rats with feline brain tissue material did not result in clinical disease during a period of 5 months, nor in growth of infectious virus in the brain. However, using the brain suspension of a newborn rat inoculated with feline brain tissue material,
it was possible to induce typical Borna disease (BD) in four adult rats. This indicates a possible adaptation of the cat virus during passages in rats. By the use of an RT-PCR technique, BDV-specific RNA could be detected in a majority of
brain samples from diseased cats. BDV-specific antigen was demonstrated in feline CNS samples both by immunohistochemistry and ELISA. However, the amount of BDV RNA and BDV antigen was less in the cats as compared to horses with BD, providing further support for the notion that a distinct feline BDV strain exists.

J Comp Pathol 1998 Oct;119(3):323-31

A variant form of feline Borna disease.

Berg AL, Berg M.

Department of Pathology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.

Borna disease virus (BDV) is a neurotropic agent with capacity to infect and cause encephalomyelitis in a wide range of animals, including horses, sheep, cattle and cats. Recent interest in BDV as a potential human pathogen has been stimulated by reports of BDV-specific antibodies and nucleic acid in patients with neuropsychiatric diseases. The pathogenesis of Borna disease (BD) in naturally infected animals is believed to be immune-mediated, mainly through the action of cytotoxic T cells. In this paper, a case of feline BD with atypical clinical and histopathological features is reported. Clinically, the cat showed
muscle fasciculation and proprioceptive defects. Despite absence of encephalitis, numerous neurons were infected with BDV as shown by in-situ hybridization. This indicates that BDV infection may lead to various disease patterns, depending on differences in viral pathogenicity, or on as yet unidentified host-specific factors.


J Vet Med Sci 1999 Oct;61(10):1167-70

Borna disease virus infection in domestic cats: evaluation by RNA and antibody detection.

Nishino Y, Funaba M, Fukushima R, Mizutani T, Kimura T, Iizuka R, Hirami H, Hara

Department of Nutrition, School of Veterinary Medicine, Azabu University, Sagamihara, Japan.

Borna disease virus (BDV) infection has been suggested to cause spontaneous neurological disease in cats referred to as staggering disease. However the evaluation of BDV infection in neurologically asymptomatic cats remained unclear. In the present study, BDV infected, asymptomatic cats in Tokyo were surveyed both by the presence of plasma antibodies against BDV-p24 and -p40 and by RNA detection in peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Seven of 32 domestic cats (21.9%) were serologically or genetically judged to be BDV-infected. Six cats were positive for anti-BDV antibody and two cats were positive for BDV RNA. Within the 2 RNA-positive cats, only one was positive for anti-BDV antibodies. Furthermore, the findings of anti-BDV-p40 and anti-BDV-p24 antibody-positive cats did not completely overlap. These results suggest that there are neurologically asymptomatic domestic cats infected with BDV present in the Tokyo area.


Vet Microbiol 1999 Dec;70(3-4):153-69

High prevalence of Borna disease virus in domestic cats with neurological disorders in Japan.

Nakamura Y, Watanabe M, Kamitani W, Taniyama H, Nakaya T, Nishimura Y, Tsujimoto
H, Machida S, Ikuta K.

Section of Serology, Institute of Immunological Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan.

A total of 15 (T-1-T-15) domestic cats with neurological disorders in Tokyo area were examined for association with Borna disease virus (BDV). None had detectable antibodies to feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia virus, feline infectious peritonitis virus and Toxoplasma gondii, and only cat T-8 had detectable antibody to FIV. Serological and molecular epidemiological studies revealed a significantly high prevalence of BDV infection in these cats: antibodies against BDV p24 and/or p40 proteins in 10/15 (66.7%) and p24 and/orp40 RNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in 8/15 (53.3%). Further, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry analyses of the autopsied brain samples derived from one of the cats (T-15) revealed BDV RNA predominantly in neuronal cells in restricted regions, such as olfactory bulb and medulla of cerebrum. Thus, BDV is present in Japanese domestic cats with neurological disorders at a high prevalence.


Acta Neuropathol (Berl) 1997 Apr;93(4):391-401

Neurological disease and encephalitis in cats experimentally infected with Borna disease virus.

Lundgren AL, Johannisson A, Zimmermann W, Bode L, Rozell B, Muluneh A, Lindberg R, Ludwig H.

Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala. Anna-Lena.Lundgren@pat.slu.se

Barrier-bred cats were inoculated intracerebrally with either the rabbit-adapted Borna disease virus (BDV) strain V or a newly isolated feline BDV, obtained from a cat with natural staggering disease (SD). Three out of eight inoculated cats developed neurological signs and non-suppurative encephalitis; all three recovered from the acute stage of disease. Sero-conversion and the development of neutralizing antibodies occurred in all of the virus-inoculated cats. In addition, cats inoculated with feline BDV showed an early peripheral T cell response not present in cats inoculated with BDV strain V, suggesting that the feline virus exerted a more vigorous effect on the immune system. Using immunohistochemistry and a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay, BDV-specific antigen and nucleic acid could be demonstrated in brain
samples from each cat with encephalitis, showing that incomplete viral clearance was probably responsible for the maintenance of inflammation. The successful induction of neurological signs and encephalitis in one cat infected with feline BDV, together with the detection of BDV-specific antigen and nucleic acid in the brain, provides strong evidence for the notion that BDV is the etiological agent behind feline SD.

Vet Rec 1998 Nov 7;143(19):523-6

Comment in:
Vet Rec. 1999 Feb 13;144(7):187.

Natural Borna disease virus infection in cats in the United Kingdom.

Reeves NA, Helps CR, Gunn-Moore DA, Blundell C, Finnemore PL, Pearson GR, Harbour DA.

Division of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Bristol School of Veterinary Science, Langford, Bristol.

Borna disease virus (BDV) is a novel RNA virus that has only recently been characterised and classified in a new virus family, Bornaviridae. The virus was detected in buffy coat cells from four of five cats with neurological disease and in the brains of five of 15 cats with nervous signs and of one of three cats with non-neurological disease. In a serosurvey of 111 cats the incidence of antibody to BDV in cats with neurological disease was higher than in cats with other types of disease, suggesting that the virus may play a role in nervous diseases of cats in the UK.