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FeLV is associated with severe oral inflammatory disease in some cats

Rolim VM, Pavarini SP, Campos FS, et al.  Clinical, pathological, immunohistochemical and molecular characterization of feline chronic gingivostomatitis.  J Feline Med Surg. 2016 Feb 8.

Severe oral inflammatory disease known as feline chronic gingivostomatitis (FCG) is a not too uncommon condition in cats.  FCG is characterized by severe inflammation around the teeth and the back of the mouth.   Affected cats may drool, have malodorous breath, have difficulty eating due to oral pain and thus have decreased caloric intake and weight loss.  Oral pain may also cause a decrease in self grooming, resulting in a lackluster fur coat.

The cause of FCG is thought to be multifactorial, resulting in a dysfunctional immune system associated with infectious and non-infectious agents.  In particular, an association with viral infections has been suspected.  Feline calicivirus (FCV), feline herpes virus (FHV-1), feline leukemia virus (FeLV), and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) as well as a slew of bacteria have been implicated.

Researchers from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil identified and studied 26 cats with severe FCG.  Immunohistochemical analysis and PCR were conducted to identify the main suspected viral agents in FCG cases; namely, FCV, FeLV, and FIV.   Immunohistochemistry revealed the presence of FCV, FeLV, and FIV antigens in the inflamed oral tissue of 0.0%, 30.8%, and 0.0% of the cats with FCG, respectively.  PCR detected 0.0% FCV RNA from oral swab samples, and 34.6% FeLV DNA and 0.0% FIV DNA from whole blood samples.

This study suggests that FeLV may play a role as a causal agent in some cases of FGC. PCR primers used in this study would have identified cats with presence of FeLV provirus DNA.  It would have been useful to know if these PCR positive cats were regressive or progressive FeLV infections. [GO]

See also:
Winer JN, Arzi B, Verstraete FJ. Therapeutic Management of feline chronic gingivostomatitis: A systematic review of the literature. Front Vet Sci. 2016 Jul 18;3:54.