This study investigated 339 cases of feline mycobacterial infection, with histopathology findings from 225 cases, and treatment and outcome information from 184 cases. Tissue samples from cats with cutaneous lesions or suspicious masses at exploratory laparotomy were submitted to the Veterinary Laboratories Agency for mycobacterial culture over a 4-year period to December 2008. The study reviewed the files for information about histopathology, treatment and outcome, and blindly reviewed histopathological changes (including staining for acid-fast bacteria [AFB]) in a sub-set of 45 cases. When a cat is suspected of having a mycobacterial infection, accurate identification of the species involved helps to determine possible treatment options and prognosis. The study confirmed that histopathology and the presence of AFB are useful tools in the recognition of mycobacterial infection. Unfortunately, they did little to help determine the species of mycobacteria involved. The study identified a group of cats that were negative for AFB at the primary laboratory, but from which rnycobacteria could be cultured; commonly Mycobacterium bovis or Mycobacterium microti. The study also identified a group of cats which where culture negative, despite typical signs of mycobacterial infection and positive AFB staining. Many cases responded favourably to treatment (56% of the cases where information was available), and many cats gained complete remission (42%). However, relapses were common (64%) and often followed by pulmonary and/or systemic spread that may have resulted from treatment with short courses of single drugs. This study shows that the diagnosis and treatment of feline mycobacteriosis is complex and challenging.
- feline tuberculosis infection microti bovis epidemiology leprosy canine tests dogs