Practical relevance Neurological disease is a relatively common reason for referral, constituting approximately 10% of the feline referral caseload. Nearly one-third to one-half of these cases may be infectious in origin. As such, an awareness of infectious diseases causing central nervous system (CNS) signs in cats, and their clinical diagnosis and management, is relevant to anyone dealing with cats on a regular basis.
Global importance Some conditions (eg, rabies) are more common in certain countries than others. Conditions such as feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and toxoplasmosis are of global significance.
Patient group Many infectious diseases may affect any feline population. Some, such as RP, are more common in pedigree households, whereas others such as toxoplasmosis, feline immunodeficiency virus (Fly) or feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) infections, are more likely to affect a single cat with an outdoor lifestyle.
Equipment All patients benefit from thorough history taking and clinical, neurological and ophthalmic examinations, which all require minimal equipment. Infectious diseases may often be diagnosed on blood samples; however, definitive diagnosis may require more extensive investigation involving cerebrospinal fluid analysis or advanced imaging necessitating access to computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging.
Evidence base The information in this review, which summarises current knowledge of infectious diseases affecting the CNS, is collated from publications on the infectious diseases comprising previous research papers, review articles, case series, case reports and textbooks, supplemented by the clinical experience of the authors.