Over the last few years, several cases of feline leishmaniasis (FL) with cutaneous and visceral forms have been reported around the world. Nonetheless, the real susceptibility of cats to infection with Leishmania spp. and the outcome of leishmaniasis in these animals are poorly understood. Experimental studies on feline models will contribute to the knowledge of natural FL. Thus, in order to determine the susceptibility of domestic cats (Felis catus) to experimental infection with Leishmania braziliensis, 13 stray cats were infected with 10(7) promastigotes by the intradermal route in the ear and nose simultaneously and followed up for 72 weeks. Soon after infection, the earliest indication of a lesion was a papule on the ear at 2 weeks post-infection (w.p.i.). The emergence of satellite papules around the primary lesion was observed about 4 w.p.i. Two weeks later these papules coalesced and formed a huge and irregular nodule. Thereafter, there was lesion dissemination to the external and marginal surface of the ipsilateral ear, and later to the contralateral ear. At 10 w.p.i., some nodules became ulcerated. Nose lesions presented a similar evolution. At both sites, the largest lesion sizes occurred at 10 w.p.i. and started to decrease 15 days later. Ear and nose nodules healed at 32 and 40 w.p.i., respectively. Specific L. braziliensis IgG antibody titers (optical density> or = 0.01 as positive result) were detected as early as 2 w.p.i. (0.09 +/- 0.02) in only three animals (23%), and all cats had positive titers at 20 w.p.i. (0.34 +/- 0.06). Only three animals (38%) continued to show positive serology at 72 w.p.i. (0.08 +/- 0.02). Up to that time, none of the cats had lesion recurrence. In a feline model of cutaneous leishmaniasis, it seems that there is no correlation between active lesions and positive serology. The implications of these data are discussed.
Veterinary Parasitology 03/2005; 127(3-4):199-208. DOI:10.1016/j.vetpar.2004.10.008 · 2.55 Impact Factor