Swiss cat diagnosed with feline form of mad cow disease

Swiss cat diagnosed with feline form of mad cow disease

July 17, 2001 Agence France Presse by Vik Iyer

A Swiss cat has been diagnosed with the feline form of mad cow disease, thought to have been spread through infected pet food, in the first such case in the country, veterinary officials said Tuesday.

The six-year-old animal had been suffering serious problems with its nervous system and was put down, and was later diagnosed with feline spongiform encephalopathy (FSE), the cat-borne variety of mad cow disease.

The pet was thought to have been infected by cat food containing either brain or spinal column from cattle contaminated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), better known as mad cow disease.

The feline form of the disease is closely linked with the cattle-borne variety and was first reported in 1990 in Britain, whose meat and livestock industry is still reeling from a BSE epidemic which swept through the country's herds.

Britain has reported around 90 cases of the feline disease among the nation's pets, while Norway has also witnessed a case, despite being clear of the bovine brain-wasting disease.

The disease also affects the domestic cat's bigger cousins and has been reported in pumas, cheetahs, lions and tigers held in zoos and fed with infected meat.

Swiss veterinary authorities insisted that the disease posed no threat to humans, adding that dogs also appeared to be safe, with no reported canine form of mad cow disease.

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