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Kitten in the Netherlands with encephalitozoonosis: histopathology, PCR and immunohistochemistry
  1. Koen Cirkel1,
  2. Nermin Caliskan1,
  3. Barbara Rebel-Bauder2 and
  4. Francois Courtin1
  1. 1Veterinary Pathology Diagnostic Centre, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Pathobiology, Institute of Pathology and Forensic Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria
  1. Correspondence to Mr Koen Cirkel; k.cirkel{at}


Encephalitozoon cuniculi is known to infect human beings, dogs, mink, cats, rodents, foxes, goats, horses, non-human primates, rats, ticks and the main host the rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Reports of E cuniculi in domestic cats (Felis catus) with histopathological changes are rare. This report describes an E cuniculi infection in the brain and kidneys of a six-week-old kitten. Postmortem examination was performed and microscopical examination of the brain and kidney revealed nodular infiltrates associated with Gram-positive microsporidian spores consistent with E cuniculi. PCR and immunohistochemistry confirm the findings. While E cuniculi infection in domestic cats is rare, this case demonstrates that it should be taken into consideration as a differential diagnosis for kittens with poor weight gain. Given the serious course of the disease and the risk of transmission to other littermates or other mammals including human beings, it is important to rule out an E cuniculi infection.

  • histopathology
  • encephalitozoon cuniculi
  • pcr and immunohistochemistry
  • feline immunodeficiency
  • feline leukaemia virus
  • toxoplasma
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  • Contributors KC: performed the autopsy (under the supervision of the responsible pathologist FC) on the kitten, including microscopical examination and writing the reports; initiated the research for publication and was the coordinator and leader of the research. NC: collected the information of the veterinarian and has written the parts below the headings of case presentation, the investigations, the differential diagnosis and treatment; and furthermore helped KC with the coordination of the research. BR-B: provided the pictures of the immunohistochemistry and provided materials and methods of the immunohistochemistry (that was performed at her lab). FC: the responsible diplomate veterinary pathologist during the autopsy on the kitten; furthermore, he gave guidance, feedback and suggestions during the period of the research.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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