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Black-footed Cat Amyloid Biopsy Protocol

Protocol for Adipose Biopsy from Black-footed Cats (Felis nigripes) for Ante-mortem Diagnosis of Amyloidosis

Justification: Amyloidosis continues to be a serious disease concern within the worldwide captive black-footed cat population.  Currently, ante-mortem diagnosis of amyloidosis is difficult and often only suspected.  A renal biopsy can be utilized for diagnosis, however, not all black-footed cats deposit amyloid within the kidneys and of those that do, some black-footed cats deposit amyloid primarily within the renal medulla which is not always present in renal biopsies.  Because of the risk and potential lack of sensitivity of renal biopsies, the development of a less invasive ante-mortem diagnostic test has become a goal of the Black-footed cat SSP.  In early trials conducted by Dr. Alex Sliwa with the European captive population, the use of subcutaneous abdominal fat biopsies for ante-mortem diagnosis of amyloidosis has proved promising.  Therefore, the AZA Black-footed cat SSP is encouraging all holding institutions to contribute to this collaborative study.  Animals should be sampled annually to monitor the sensitivity and specificity of this test over time.  Additionally, all institutions are encouraged to submit necropsy tissues according to the SSP protocol (posted on the AAZV and Felid TAG websites). 

All samples will be analyzed FREE of charge and results sent to the contributing institutions.  Contributing institutions will also be acknowledged on any resulting publications.

Protocol:  Under surgical anesthesia, clip the fur and surgically prep a small area of skin between the nipples on the caudal abdomen. Make a small incision (approximately 5-10 mm) with a scalpel. Bluntly dissect through this incision exposing subcutaneous fat and excise a small piece (rice grain sized) of  this adipose tissue. Try to avoid the inclusion of the dermis and  contamination with blood.  Place the sample in small vial of 10% neutral buffered formalin.  The skin incision should be closed using a single interrupted suture or tissue glue. Please collect samples on an annual basis for this long-term study.

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ATTN: Drs. Karen Terio / Michael Kinsel
Zoological Pathology Program
c/o Brookfield Zoo Hospital
3300 Golf Road
Brookfield, IL 60513

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