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From: TSS ()
Date: September 7, 2007 at 8:26 am PST

New BSE-like disease found in cheetah
06/09/2007 - 17:52:28

A cheetah at a zoo in Nuremberg has died after contracting an illness similar to mad cow disease, becoming the first confirmed case in Germany of feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE), city authorities said today.

Lulu, a female cheetah born in 1998, had suffered for six weeks from problems that included trouble balancing and weakness in her hind legs, the Nuremberg city government said in a statement.

The animal eventually was put to sleep, and tests by Bavarian and federal labs were positive for FSE, it added.

It was unclear how and when Lulu became infected with the disease, which has a several-year incubation period, but Nuremberg authorities said it likely happened in the Netherlands, where she was born.

Lulu moved to Germany at the age of 15 months, returned to the Netherlands five years later and arrived at the Nuremberg zoo in March 2006.


interesting to say the least. how could this cheetah have contracted FSE?

feed with FSE ?

casual contact with FSE in zoo ?

remember the man and his cat whom both had sporadic CJD;

In October 1998 the simultaneous occurrence of spongiform encephalopathy
in a man and his pet cat was reported. The report from Italy noted that
the cat did not display the same clinical features as FSE cases
previously seen. Indeed, the presence of a new type of FSE was
suggested. The man was diagnosed as having sporadic CJD, and neither
case (man nor cat) appeared to be affected by a BSE-related condition.

Image] Research letters Volume 352, Number 9134 [Image] 3 October1998[Previous] [Next] [Image][Image]
Simultaneous occurrence of spongiform encephalopathy in a manand his cat in Italy

[Image] Gianluigi Zanusso, Ettore Nardelli, Anna Rosati, GianMaria Fabrizi, SergioFerrari, Antonella Carteri, Franco De Simone, Nicola Rizzuto, SalvatoreMonaco

Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSE) encompass inherited,acquired, and sporadic mammalian neurological disorders, and arecharacterised by the conversion of the cellular prion protein (PrP) in aninsoluble and protease-resistant isoform (PrPres). In human TSE, four typesof PrPres have been identified according to size and glycoform ratios, whichmay represent different prion strains. Type-1 and type-2 PrPres areassociated with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), type 3 withiatrogenic CJD, and type 4 with variant CJD.1,2 There is evidence thatvariant CJD is caused by the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)-prionstrain.2-4 The BSE strain has been identified in three cats with felinespongiform encephalopathy (FSE), a prion disease which appeared in 1990 inthe UK.5 We report the simultaneous occurrence of sporadic CJD in a man anda new variety of FSE in his cat. A 60-year-old man, with no unusual dietary habits, was admitted in November,1993, because of dysarthria, cerebellar ataxic gait, visual agnosia, andmyoclonus. An electroencephalogram (EEG) showed diffuse theta-deltaactivity. A brain magnetic resonance imaging scan was unremarkable. 10 dayslater, he was speechless and able to follow only simple commands. RepeatEEGs showed periodic triphasic complexes. 2 weeks after admission, he wasmute, akinetic, and unable to swallow. He died in early January, 1994. His 7-year-old, neutered, female shorthaired cat presented in November,1993, with episodes of frenzy, twitching of its body, and hyperaesthesia.The cat was usually fed on canned food and slept on its owner's bed. Nobites from the cat were recalled. In the next few days, the cat becameataxic, with hindquarter locomotor dysfunction; the ataxia got worse andthere was diffuse myoclonus. The cat was killed in mid-January, 1994. No pathogenic mutations in the patient's PrP gene were found. The patientand the cat were methionine homozygous at codon 129. Histology of thepatient's brain showed neocortical and cerebellar neuronal loss,astrocytosis, and spongiosis (figure A). PrP immunoreactivity showed apunctate pattern and paralleled spongiform changes (figure B). The cat'sbrain showed mild and focal spongiosis in deeper cortical layers of all fourlobes (figure C), vacuolated cortical neurons (figure D), and mildastrogliosis. The cerebellar cortex and the dentate nucleus were gliosed.Immunoreactive PrP showed a punctate pattern in neocortex, allocortex, andcaudate nucleus (figure E). Western blot analysis of control and affectedhuman and cat brain homogenates showed 3 PrP bands of 27-35 kDa. Afterdigestion with proteinase K and deglycosylation, only samples from theaffected patient and cat showed type-1 PrPres, with PrP glycoform ratioscomparable to those observed in sporadic CJD1 (details available fromauthor). [Image] Microscopic sections of patient and cat brains A: Occipital cortex of the patient showing moderate spongiformdegeneration and neuronal loss (haematoxylin and eosin) and B: punctateperineuronal pattern of PrP immunoreactivity; peroxidaseimmunohistochemistry with monoclonal antibody 3F4. C: cat parietal cortexshowing mild spongiform degeneration (haematoxylin and eosin).D:vacuolated neurons (arrow, haematoxylin and eosin), E: peroxidaseimmunohistochemistry with antibody 3F4 shows punctate perineuronaldeposition of PrP in temporal cortex. This study shows a spatio-temporal association between human and felineprion diseases. The clinical features of the cat were different frompreviously reported cases of FSE which were characterised by gradual onsetof behavioural changes preceding locomotor dysfunction and ataxia.5Neuropathological changes were also at variance with the diffuse spongiosisand vacuolation of brainstem neurons, seen in FSE.5 The synaptic pattern ofPrP deposition, similar in the cat and in the patient, was atypical for aBSE-related condition. Evidence of a new type of FSE was further provided bythe detection of a type-1 PrPres, other than the BSE-associated type 4.2Taken together, our data suggest that the same agent strain of sporadic CJDwas involved in the patient and in his cat. It is unknown whether these TSE occurred as the result of horizontaltransmission in either direction, infection from an unknown common source,or the chance occurrence of two sporadic forms.

1 Parchi P, Castellani R, Capellari S, et al. Molecular basis of phenotypicvariablity in sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Ann Neurol 1996; 39:767-78 [PubMed]. 2 Collinge J, Sidle KCL, Meads J, Ironside J, Hill AF. Molecular analysis ofprion strain variation and the aetiology of 'new variant' CJD. Nature 1996;383: 685-90 [PubMed]. 3 Bruce ME, Will RG, Ironside JW, et al. Transmissions to mice indicate that'new variant' CJD is caused by the BSE agent. Nature 1997; 389: 498-501[PubMed]. 4 Hill AF, Desbruslais M, Joiner S, et al. The same prion strain causes vCJDand BSE. Nature 1997; 389: 448-50 [PubMed]. 5 Pearson GR, Wyatt JM, Henderson JP, Gruffydd-Jones TJ. Feline spongiformencephalopathy: a review. Vet Annual 1993; 33: 1-10.
Sezione di Neurologie Clinica, Dipartimento di Scienze Neurologiche e dellaVisione, Università di Verona, Policlinico Borgo Roma, 37134 Verona, Italy(S Monaco; e mail; and Istituto ZooprofilatticoSperimentale della Lombardia e dell' Emilia, Brescia
indeed there have been 4 documented cases of TSE in Lions to date.
Lion 32 December 98 Born November 86
Lion 33 May 1999 (euthanased) Born November 81.
Lion 36 Euthanased August 2000 Born July 87. Deteriorating hind limb
Lion 37 Euthanased November 2001 Male, 14 years. Deteriorating hind
limb ataxia since September 2001. (Litter mate to Ref. 36.)
go to the url above, on the bar at the top, click on _statistics_,
then in middle of next page, click on_other TSEs_.
or go here;


Reports on the clinical symptoms presented by these cats give a
relatively homogeneous picture: Affected cats show a lack of
coordination with an ataxia mainly of the hind limbs, they often fall
and miss their target when jumping. Fear and increased aggressiveness
against the owner and also other animals is often seen. They do not
longer tolerate to be touched (stroked) and start hiding. These
behavioural chances might be the result of a hypersensibility to touch
and noise, but also to increased fear. Excessive salivation is another
more frequently seen symptom. Cats with FSE in general show severe
behavioural disturbances, restlessness and depression, and a lack of
coat cleaning. Symptoms in large cats in general are comparable to those
in domestic cats. A
report on FSE (in german) has been presented in 2001 in the Swiss FVO
Magazin. A paper on the first FSE case in a domestic cat in Switzerland
is currently in press in the Journal Schweizer Archiv für Tierheilkunde


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