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Feline Dysautonomia in the United States

Kidder, A. C., C. Johannes, et al. (2008). “Feline dysautonomia in the Midwestern United States: a retrospective study of nine cases.” J Feline Med Surg 10(2): 130-6.

Dysautonomia in domestic animals results in clinical signs related to dysfunction or failure of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The disease was first reported in cats in 1982 in the United Kingdom, where it is often called Key-Gaskell syndrome. The disease remains uncommon in the United States. Common clinical findings include depression, anorexia, dysphagia, regurgitation or vomiting, constipation, dilated unresponsive pupils, prolapsed nictitating membranes, dry nose and mouth, reduced tear production, bradycardia, and megaesophagus. No etiology is known for this disease in any species although a neurotoxin or an infectious agent has been suggested. This study reports on 9 cases of feline dysautonomia in eastern Kansas and western Missouri. Interestingly, most cases of canine dysautonomia have occurred in eastern Kansas and western and southern Missouri. Unfortunately, feline dysautonomia is associated with a poor prognosis. Only 1 cat in this study could be classified as making a recovery.
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Related articles:
Nunn, F., T. Cave, et al. (2004). “Association between Key-Gaskell syndrome and infection by Clostridium botulinim type C/D.” Vet Rec 155(4): 111-115.
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Cave, T., C. Knottenbelt, et al. (2003). “Outbreak of feline dysautonomia (Key-Gaskell syndrome) in a closed colony of pet cats.” Vet Rec 153(13): 387-392.
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