An 11-mo-old captive-bred male neutered bobcat (Felis rufus) presented with lethargy, anorexia, leukopenia, neutropenia, lymphopenia, and nonregenerative anemia. The animal was diagnosed as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) positive by immunofluorescent antibody and enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay (ELISA) testing. It died despite supportive care. Pathologic examination revealed multifocal non-suppurative encephalitis, diffuse interstitial pneumonia, multifocal hepatocellular necrosis, non-suppurative peritonitis, and lymphoid depletion. FeLV was isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells, bone marrow, spleen, and lymph node. FeLV-specific gag sequences were amplified by DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and aligned with known domestic cat FeLV's. The source of the virus was speculated to be a domestic cat that was a surrogate nurse. Case reports of FeLV in nondomestic felids are few, and FeLV does not appear to be enzootic in wild felids, except European wildcats (Felis silvestris) in France and Scotland. Introduction of FeLV into free-living and captive nondomestic felid populations could have serious consequences for their health and survival. Measures to prevent the introduction of this virus to nondomestic felids are warranted.
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Vol. 37 • No. 1