Effects of age and allergen-induced airway inflammation in cats: Radiographic and cytologic correlation

Nathalie Kirschvink, Emilie KERSNAK, Jérome Leemans, François DELVAUX, Cécile CLERCX, Frédéric SNAPS, Pascal GUSTIN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Thoracic radiography is an important diagnostic tool for feline respiratory medicine. The aim of this study was (1) to assess age-related changes of thoracic radiographic views in healthy young cats and (2) to test if experimentally-induced bronchial inflammation by inhaling Ascaris suum (AS) allergens leads to radiographic changes after single or repeated exposures. Healthy cats (n=15-30) aged between 6 and 30 months were evaluated. Eight healthy cats and eight AS-sensitised cats, respectively, inhaled sterile saline or allergen. Radiographs were taken 24h before, and 6, 24 and 48h after the challenge. Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) was performed after the last radiographic examination. AS-sensitised cats underwent three further allergen challenges at 3-month intervals. The radiographic evaluation was based on a scoring system considering bronchial, interstitial and alveolar patterns. A significant age-related increase in interstitial and total radiographic score was detected in healthy cats older than 18 months and in healthy cats older than 24 months. Whilst saline inhalation did not affect radiographic scores, a single AS challenge induced significant changes of all scores within 6-24h. A significant positive correlation between radiographic scores and BAL neutrophils and eosinophils was found. Repeated AS challenges did not induce irreversible changes in radiographic scores.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-651
Number of pages8
JournalThe Veterinary Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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