A neurological syndrome of cats characterised by unsteady 'staggering' gait, depression, and progressive hindlimb ataxia and paresis has been described from several European countries, and possibly other parts of the world including North America and Australia. Post-mortem examination reveals a very characteristic non-supportive meningoencephalomyelitis mainly in the grey matter of the cortex, brain stem and spinal cord. The histopathology is consistent with a viral infection, and, although the causative virus has not yet been isolated, affected cats have high antibody titre to Borna disease virus (BDV). BDV is the cause of a progressive encephalopathy of horses and sheep in Central Europe, and BDV or a related virus has also been associated with certain psychiatric disorders in man.

Back to menu