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A retrospective study of more than 400 feline nasal biopsy samples in the UK (2006–2013)

Ferguson S, Smith KC, Welsh CE, Dobromylskyj MJ. A retrospective study of more than 400 feline nasal biopsy samples in the UK (2006–2013). J Feline Med Surg. 2019 Oct 21

Nasal diseases are common in cats and may be frustrating due to their chronicity, difficulty to diagnose and treat, and effects on quality of life for both cats and owners.

The study was designed as a retrospective observational study of nasal biopsy samples from cats submitted to a laerge commercial reference laboratory

405 samples from the feline nasal cavity were evaluated, consisting of 133 neoplastic samples, 215 rhinitis, and 81 nasal polyps. 6 samples had both rhinitis and neoplasia, 17 rhinitis and polyps, and 2 polyps and neoplasia. One sample consisted of a polyp, neoplasia, and rhinitis.

A greater proportion of purebred cats were found in the sample group compared to the general population.

Statistical analysis was done to assess for correlations between each type of result and age, breed, purebred status, sex, skull conformation, uni- or bilateral signs, and history of nasal discharge. No significant correlations were found for neoplasia or rhinitis, however polyps were most common in young, male cats with a mesocephalic skull confirmation and no nasal discharge. In multivariate regression most of these factors were no longer present, and the only significant correlation was between a young age and nasal polyps.

Of the cats with nasal neoplasia, 68 had lymphoma and 51 adenocarcinoma. 2 cats had a benign adenoma.

Despite the traditionally opinion that cats with altered facial confirmation may be more prone to nasal disease (ie neoplasia in dolichocephalic and rhinitis in brachycephalic), no correlation was seen between facial confirmation and risk of disease.

Some drawbacks are present in this study. It’s retrospective nature is a limitation, as is the single lab in a single geographic region that samples were drawn from. Nasal polyps are often diagnosed grossly and not may not always be submitted for histopathology, so the number may be under-represented.  The lab also relies on the submitting hospital to give accurate demographic information, which may not always be the case.

The authors conclude that there is no effect of skull confirmation on nasal disease. The only association between any causal factor and type of nasal disease was age of the cat, in which a young age was associated with a higher probability of nasopharyngeal polyps.

See Also

Henderson SM, Bradley K, Day MJ, et al. Investigation of nasal disease in the cat – a retrospective study of 77 cases. J Feline Med Surg 2004; 6: 245–257.

Reed N and Gunn-Moore D. Nasopharygeal disease in cats 2. Specific conditions and their management. J Feline Med Surg 2012; 14: 317–326.

Allen HS, Broussard J and Noone K. Nasopharyngeal diseases in cats: a retrospective study of 53 cases (1991–1998). J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1999; 35: 457–461.