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Feline Pansteatitis: A Report of Five Cases


Pansteatitis (yellow fat disease, panniculitis, steatitis) is an inflammatory disease of adipose tissue throughout the body (Holzworth 1987). It was first experimentally induced by Mason & Dam in 1946 in cats fed a diet deficient in vita-min E and high in cod liver oil (Mason & Dam 1946). It has since been reported as a clinical condition by several authors (Cordy & Stil-linger 1953, Watson et al 1973, Gaskell et al 1975, Summers et al 1982, Hagiwara et al 1986). Pansteatitis occurs naturally in cats, mink, and pigs as a result of vitamin E deficiency. Vitamin E (α-tocopherol) is a biological antioxidant found in vegetable oils (Holzworth 1987). It serves as a protector of the fats in the diet and in the body. Pansteatitis is caused by a mismatch between intake of unsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants, i.e. vitamin E. The ensu-ing peroxidation of the body fat causes a for-eign body reaction with severe inflammation and cell death. The foremost clinical sign is hy-peraesthesia or severe pain on palpation/han-dling, especially over the back and of the abdo-men. The final diagnosis rests with the histo-logical findings of the above-mentioned lesions in conjunction with acid-fast ceroid pigment (i.e. end-product of lipid peroxidation) in fat cells, in macrophages, in Langhans-type giant cells, and extracellularly (Holzworth 1987).


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Biopsy and postmortem examinations were per-formed at Bio Vet Diagnostic Laboratory. We would like to thank Dr. Lennart Jönsson (Uppsala) for pre-paring the micrograph.

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Tidholm, A., Karlsson, I. & Wallius, B. Feline Pansteatitis: A Report of Five Cases. Acta Vet Scand 37, 213–217 (1996).

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