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Fibrocartilaginous embolic encephalopathy of the cerebellum and brainstem in a cat

Rebecca McBride, Helena Rylander, Douglas Lyman


A 12-year old male castrated Siamese cat was evaluated for a one-day history of mild obtundation and decerebellate rigidity. Neurological examination findings were consistent with multifocal disease including lesions within the right cerebellum and right brainstem. Investigations included hematology, biochemistry, urinalysis, and urine culture. A definitive diagnosis was not achieved clinically and differential diagnoses included vascular disease, neoplasia, and infectious disease. About nine hours after admission, the cat had an episode where it became rigid and then limp. The cat became agonal and went into cardiopulmonary arrest and attempts of resuscitation were unsuccessful. Post-mortem examination revealed evidence of multiple fibrocartilaginous emboli (FCE) within the cerebellum and within meningeal vessels on the ventral aspect of the brainstem. This is the first reported case of fibrocartilaginous embolism causing an encephalopathy in a cat. While this is a rare disease, it is an important differential diagnosis that should be considered in cases of acute encephalopathies in cats.

Keywords: Cerebellum, Embolus, Encephalopathy, Feline, Fibrocartilaginous
AJOL African Journals Online