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J Comp Pathol. 2007 Feb-Apr;136(2-3):96-110. Epub 2007 Feb 1.

Non-suppurative meningoencephalitis of unknown origin in cats and dogs: an immunohistochemical study.

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Department of Pathology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany.


Non-suppurative meningoencephalitis of unknown cause is a frequent finding in dogs and cats. Fifty-three dogs and 33 cats with non-suppurative meningoencephalitis of unknown aetiology were examined immunohistochemically for 18 different infectious agents, including viruses, bacteria and prion protein(Sc). In 14 (26%) of the dogs and 13 (39%) of the cats a causative agent was identified in the central nervous system (CNS), two dogs and one cat giving positive results for two infectious agents simultaneously. The study revealed infections with known causative agents (porcine herpes virus 1, feline infectious peritonitis virus, Escherichia coli) and a new disease pattern of parvovirus infection in the CNS of dogs and cats. Infection of the CNS with feline leukaemia virus was found in a cat. Five dogs and four cats gave positive results for West Nile virus (WNV) antigen. In one dog, canine parainfluenza virus antigen was detected in the brain. Four dogs and four cats gave positive results for encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV). The significance of the detection of WNV and EMCV antigen requires further study. The aetiology remained undetermined in 39 dogs (74%) and 20 cats (61%). Although it is possible that non-infectious causes play a more important role than previously thought, infections with hitherto unrecognized agents cannot be ruled out.

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