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Fatal necrotising bronchopneumonia in a cat due to cowpox virus infection in the absence of skin lesions


A two-year six-month-old cat was presented with pyrexia, dyspnoea and tachypnoea. Thoracic radiographs revealed right cranial lung lobe consolidation. Haematology, serum biochemistry and coagulation profile results were within normal limits. No skin lesions or other abnormalities were observed. The cat was treated with broad-spectrum antibiotics, analgesia and a bronchodilator. Despite medical management the cat continued to deteriorate and so a right cranial lung lobectomy was performed. Histopathology and lung tissue PCR revealed cowpox virus to be the underlying cause. The cat continued to deteriorate following surgery and was euthanased. A member of staff who had been heavily involved in treating the cat subsequently developed a skin lesion on their hand followed by systemic illness. Cowpox virus was strongly suspected, although this was never confirmed. The individual made a full recovery.

  • cats
  • pneumonia
  • poxvirus
  • zoonoses
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