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To review 12 cases of histologically confirmed feline eosinophilic conjunctivitis, their clinical, cytologic, histologic and electronmicroscopic findings, results on PCR for FeHV-1, treatment and outcome.
Twelve naturally occurring cases presented during a period of 26 months.
Thorough ophthalmologic examination, conjunctival scrapings performed with the cytobrush method; histologic samples from the palpebral conjunctiva; PCR for FeHV-1 on Schirmer Tear Test (STT) strips; saliva and nasal swabs, and retrospective evaluation of all results.
The breed most commonly affected was the Domestic Shorthair (n = 8), followed by Persians (n = 2), Somali (n = 1) and Siamese (n = 1). Age at presentation was 1-15 years with a mean age of 7.2 years. Nine cats were castrated males; three cats were females: two of them were spayed. Unilateral (n = 7) or bilateral (n = 5) involvement with depigmentation and erosions of lid margin, blepharospasm, swelling and redness of conjunctiva and third eyelid were the most common clinical findings. Frequency of eosinophils in cytologic samples was more than 10% in every patient. PCR for FeHV-1 on STT was negative in all cases. Histologically, eosinophils, lymphocytes, plasma cells, mast cells and macrophages were involved. On electronmicroscopy, viral particles were not detected. Ten cases needed long-term anti-inflammatory treatment.
The 12 reviewed cases suggest that feline eosinophilic conjunctivitis is a chronic inflammatory uni- or bilateral disease of the adult cat. Typically the lid margin was also involved, and was thickened, depigmented and erosive. Cytological examination of conjunctival scrapings was a valuable tool for detecting eosinophilic conjunctivitis. The cytological findings correlated well with the histopathological findings in our patients. Topical or systemic anti-inflammatory drugs resolved the clinical symptoms in our cases within a short period of time. Neither electronmicroscopy nor PCR were able to detect involvement of FHV1 in the represented cases. The etiopathogenic role of FeHV-1 remains undetermined.