"It’s definitely a concern, especially seeing it was more than once instance and it's distributed over a large region," Budd said. This is a rare disease in humans that is disappearing due to preventative public health measures. If not, are there other possible causes that you can think of? Alzheimer’s disease is currently defined based on the presence of toxic protein aggregations in the brain known as amyloid plaques and tau tangles, accompanied by cognitive decline and dementia. The most common types of human to human transmission are related of medical procedures involving transfer of tissues from a human with an undiagnosed prion disease. Copyright text 2017-2020 by The Organic Prepper. The author may or may not have a financial interest in any company or advertiser referenced. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Florida’s panther population was dangerously low during the 1970s and ‘80s, when just 20 to 30 of the big cats roamed the state. Better understanding of prions is important in controlling the threat they represent to animals and humans and for what we can learn about the cause and treatment of the major dementia diseases of humans. FWC biologists say there are between 120 and 230 panthers living in Florida now, with the vast majority existing south of Lake Okeechobee. ", More: Scientists think toxic algae could be impacting some Florida panthers, bobcats, FWC wildlife veterinarian Mark Cunningham said" "(We) termed the condition feline leukomyelopathy (FLM) based on the microscopic changes seen in the brain and spine. The symptoms in the panthers and bobcats in Florida sound similar, so I did some digging to see if this kind of disease infects cats. New research suggests skin samples hold early signs of prion disease that precede neurologic symptoms, and scientists are hoping that the detection of skin prions will be useful for monitoring disease progression and assessing therapeutic efficacy during clinical trials or treatments when prion therapy becomes available in the future. Trail camera footage shows eight panthers (mostly kittens) and one adult bobcat displaying varying degrees of trouble walking or difficulty coordinating their back legs. Once the clinical signs appear, this disease is invariably fatal. There have been a few cases of human prion disease related to blood transfusion in the United Kingdom. (source). In addition to the deceased cats, trail camera footage revealed eight other panthers, most of them kittens, and an adult bobcat showing similar symptoms. Samantha Wisely, a professor of wildlife ecology at the University of Florida, who is not involved with the research on the affected bobcats and panthers, said big cats can pick up infectious diseases in a variety of ways. They've slowly come back after development and habitat destruction cut their numbers down to 20 wild panthers at the end of the 20th century. Prion diseases are characterized by sponge-like holes in brain tissue. "Affected animals tested negative for multiple infectious diseases, but we wouldn't say infectious diseases are ruled out completely," Kerr said. Increasing evidence also links the prion mechanism to proteins involved in the pathogenesis of other common neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases,” according to the Prion Research Center (PRC) at Colorado State University. They've slowly come back after development and habitat destruction cut their numbers down to 20 wild panthers at the end of the 20th century. One of the amazing things about prions is that, although they are composed only of proteins and contain no genes, they have acquired the ability to be transmitted like other infectious agents such as viruses or bacteria. Make certain you have these 50 non-food stockpile essentials. Trail footage from counties of the west coast of southern Florida shows the animals struggling to walk. They spread through tissue like an infection and replicate by causing other normally folded proteins to rearrange themselves into a misfolded structure. The Organic Prepper Website is an affiliate of several other companies, from which commission is earned. "But there’s no ‘aha’ moment. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is monitoring the status of the cats on trail cameras. Scientists think toxic algae could be impacting some Florida panthers, bobcats, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. The Organic Prepper website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. They appear to have no trouble using their front legs, but their hind legs crisscross and sometimes completely give out under their weight as they walk, causing them to stumble and struggle to continue walking. Other protein misfolding diseases include Lou Gehrig’s disease and Huntington’s disease. “The number of animals exhibiting these symptoms is relatively few; however, any disease or condition impacting multiple animals is cause for concern,” Segelson explained. Florida panthers were heavily hunted after 1832 when a bounty on panthers was created.