TitleClinicopathologic features of a systemic coronavirus-associated disease resembling feline infectious peritonitis in the domestic ferret (Mustela putorius).
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsGarner, MM, Ramsell, K, Morera, N, Juan-Sallés, C, Jiménez, J, Ardiaca, M, Montesinos, A, Teifke, JP, Löhr, CV, Evermann, JF, Baszler, TV, Nordhausen, RW, Wise, AG, Maes, RK, Kiupel, M
JournalVeterinary pathology
Date Published2008 Mar
KeywordsRNA, Viral

From 2002 to 2007, 23 ferrets from Europe and the United States were diagnosed with systemic pyogranulomatous inflammation resembling feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). The average age at the time of diagnosis was 11 months. The disease was progressive in all cases, and average duration of clinical illness was 67 days. Common clinical findings were anorexia, weight loss, diarrhea, and large, palpable intra-abdominal masses; less frequent findings included hind limb paresis, central nervous system signs, vomiting, and dyspnea. Frequent hematologic findings were mild anemia, thrombocytopenia, and hypergammaglobulinemia. Grossly, whitish nodules were found in numerous tissues, most frequently the mesenteric adipose tissue and lymph nodes, visceral peritoneum, liver, kidneys, spleen, and lungs. One ferret had a serous abdominal effusion. Microscopically, pyogranulomatous inflammation involved especially the visceral peritoneum, mesenteric adipose tissue, liver, lungs, kidneys, lymph nodes, spleen, pancreas, adrenal glands, and/or blood vessels. Immunohistochemically, all cases were positive for coronavirus antigen using monoclonal antibody FIPV3-70. Electron microscopic examination of inflammatory lesions identified particles with coronavirus morphology in the cytoplasm of macrophages. Partial sequencing of the coronavirus spike gene obtained from frozen tissue indicates that the virus is related to ferret enteric coronavirus.