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J Feline Med Surg. 1999 Mar;1(1):23-9.

Disseminated Mycobacterium genavense infection in a FIV-positive cat.

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Veterinary Sciences Division, Department of Agriculture for Northern Ireland, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3SD, Northern Ireland.


An 8-year-old FIV-positive Australian cat was presented with coughing, periocular alopecia, pyrexia and inappetence. Skin scrapings demonstrated Demodex cati mites. Antibiotics were administered and it was treated successfully for periocular demodectic mange, but the cat continued to exhibit respiratory signs and lose weight. Further investigation revealed an ascarid infection and active chronic inflammation of undetected cause affecting the lower airways. Repetitive treatment with pyrantel failed to eradicate the ascarid infection. The cat became cachectic and developed moist ulcerative dermatitis of the neck, severe non-regenerative anaemia, leucopenia and thrombocytopenia. Necropsy and histopathology revealed mycobacteriosis affecting skin, lungs, spleen, lymph nodes, liver and kidney. Attempted culture of frozen tissues at a mycobacteria reference laboratory was unsuccessful. Paraffin-embedded, formalin-fixed tissue was retrieved and examined using PCR to amplify part of the 16S rRNA gene. A diagnosis of disseminated Mycobacterium genavense infection was made based on the presence of acid fast bacteria in many tissues and partial sequence of the 16S rRNA gene. Although M genavense has been identified previously as a cause of disseminated disease in AIDS patients, this is the first report of infection in a cat. It was suspected that the demodecosis, recurrent ascarid infections and disseminated M genavense infection resulted from an immune deficiency syndrome consequent to longstanding FIV infection.

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