Feline asthma syndrome in African lions (Panthera leo)

Goutam Mukherjee, Thaddeus K. Graczyk, Donna Magid, Michael R. Cranfield, John D. Strandberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Feline asthma syndrome, previously recognized only in domestic cats, was diagnosed in three captive African lions (Panthera leo), one of which died as a result of the condition. Two of the lions displayed progressive signs for 7 yr, including severe bouts of coughing, wheezing, dyspnea, rhonchi, and tachypnea that were most severe during the spring and summer, and the third lion displayed acute signs only once. Scattered to diffuse increased interstitial markings, peribronchial cuffing, and focal atelectasis were visible in radiographs. At necropsy, multiple subpleural bullae, 2-3 cm in diameter, were scattered throughout the lung tissue. There were thick-walled bronchi and bronchioles filled with thick grayish mucus, and alveolar spaces were enlarged with severe, diffuse, banded multifocal areas of alveolar wall fibrosis. The lions had significantly elevated IgE type I immediate hypersensitivity responses to recognized aeroallergens. The captive management of lions should address the design and maintenance of allergen-free air supplies. Ventilation systems should be examined routinely and thoroughly cleaned of any residue. The frequency of examination should increase during the summer. Lions and other large cats should be routinely screened for IgE aeroallergen-specific titers, asthma cases should be treated promptly with prednisolone, and investigations of etiology should be initiated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-560
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999


  • Aeroallergens
  • Asthma syndrome
  • Cats
  • Lion
  • Panthera leo
  • Respiratory disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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