Feline leishmaniosis is a chronic disease with the most common clinical signs and clinicopathological abnormalities similar to those found in dogs (Table 8). However, “atypical” presentations are increasingly reported (e.g. chronic obstructive naso-pharyngeal syndrome, mastitis, granulomatous gastroenteritis).

The most common cutaneous lesions described are ulcerative and nodular dermatitis mostly distributed on the head or symmetrically on distal limbs (Figures 5 and 6). Uveitis is the most important ocular lesion (Figure 7). Oral lesions consist of nodules (tongue and/or gingival mucosa) or chronic stomatitis (Figure 8).

Complete blood count, biochemical profile and urinalysis are required in any suspected case to identify hyperglobulinemia, mild to moderate non-regenerative anemia, renal disease or other less common laboratory abnormalities associated with leishmaniosis.

FIV and FeLV testing are recommended in case of risk of exposure, as well as investigation of other concurrent diseases that alter feline immune response.

Figure 5: Nodular conjunctivitis (upper eyelid) and ulcerative dermatitis

Figure 6: Ulcerative dermatitis on distal limb

Figure 7: Bilateral uveitis with bleeding in the anterior chamber (hyphema)

Figure 8: Stomatitis and glossitis involving cheeks and the margin of the tongue
Pictures: © Maria Grazia Pennisi

Table 8. Frequency of clinical and clinicopathological abnormalities reported in FeL.
*: present in around 50% of cases
**: present in around 30% of cases
***: present in less than 25% of cases and listed in descending order of frequency

Clinical and clinicopathological abnormalities reported in FeL
Reported frequently* Uncommon** Rare***
Skin and/or muco-cutaneous lesions
Ocular lesions
Oral lesions
Weight loss – Anorexia – Lethargy
Pale mucous membranes – Icterus
Hepatomegaly – Splenomegaly
Cachexia – Fever
Vomiting – Diarrhea
Chronic nasal discharge
Stertor – Dyspnoea – Wheezes
Mastitis – Abortion
Hypergammaglobulinemia Proteinuria
Mild to moderate non-regenerative anemia
Azotemia – Hypoalbuminemia
Monocytosis – Neutrophilia