In contrast to dogs, the role of copper and iron accumulation in feline hepatic disease remains poorly characterized. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to compare the amount and distribution of copper and iron accumulation for different disease processes in feline liver biopsies. Liver biopsies (from 104 privately owned cats) were categorized by primary histopathologic lesion. Copper (by rubeanic acid) and iron (by Prussian blue) accumulation were graded by amounts (0-3) and location (centrilobular, midzonal, periportal, random). The Kruskal-Wallis test and Pearson chi-square test were used to assess differences in metal grade and location, respectively, between diagnostic categories. Histologic diagnoses were normal ( n=12), congenital ( n=6), neoplastic ( n=16), infectious and/or inflammatory (n=39), and other ( n=31). Hepatocellular iron staining was negative in 18 samples; remaining samples had grade 1 ( n=38), 2 ( n=40), and 3 (n=8) accumulation. Ninety-two samples were negative for copper remaining samples had grade 1 ( n=5), 2 ( n=6), and 3 ( n=1) accumulation. No significant differences were found in the amount of iron or copper accumulation between the different diagnostic categories. Diagnostic category and the location of copper or iron accumulation were not associated. Hepatic iron accumulation was common and not associated with histologic diagnosis. Hepatocellular copper accumulation was more common in cats than previously reported, had a similar pattern of distribution to fibrotic changes, and was not present in histologically normal liver biopsies.
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