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Vet Pathol. 1997 May;34(3):250-2.

Neuronal vacuolation in raccoons (Procyon lotor).

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  • 1College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331, USA.


Microscopic vacuolar changes in neuronal perikaryon are described in two free-ranging raccoons (Procyon lotor) from different geographic locations in the United States. Both animals were negative for rabies and scrapie-associated antigens. Microscopically, lesions were not seen in the neuropil. Neuronal vacuolations have previously been documented in brains of normal animals and in diseases such as rabies and prion-associated encephalopathies. Although experimental transmission of a spongiform mink encephalopathy has been documented in raccoons, a naturally occurring spongiform encephalopathy has not been described in this species. The presence of neuronal vacuolations in the raccoons is novel and requires further investigation to elucidate the mechanism of this phenomenon.

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