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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2012

Markers of Borna disease virus infection in cats with staggering disease

Wensman JJ, Jaderlund KH, Gustavsson MH, Hansson-Hamlin H, Karlstam E, Lilliehook I, Strom ILO, Belak S, Berg M, Holst BS


Borna disease virus (BDV) is a RNA-virus causing neurological disorders in a wide range of mammals. In cats, BDV infection may cause staggering disease. Presently, staggering disease is a tentative clinical diagnosis, only confirmed at necropsy. In this study, cats with staggering disease were investigated to study markers of BDV infection aiming for improvement of current diagnostics. Nineteen cats fulfilled the inclusion criteria based on neurological signs and pathological findings. In 17/19 cats, BDV infection markers (BDV-specific antibodies and/or BDV-RNA) were found, and antibodies in serum (13/16, 81%) were the most common marker. BDV-RNA was found in 11/19 cats (58%). In a reference population without neurological signs, 4/25 cats were seropositive (16%). The clinical history and neurological signs in combination with presence of BDV infection markers, where serology and rRT-PCR on blood can be helpful tools, improve the diagnostic accuracy in the living cat.

Published in

Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery
2012, Volume: 14, number: 8, pages: 573-582