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Last updated January 1, 2014

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Pets

Veterinarian Walter Tarello travels the world diagnosing and treating CFS-like diseases in animals

Compiled by Melissa Kaplan

There has been a growing suspicion, by pet owners and some vets, that chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or a condition with a signs and symptoms very much like CFS occurs in companion animals, specifically, to date at least, in mammals. Far from being "just tired" this illness affects the brain, immune and endocrine systems causing a wide range of dysregulations and impairments.

Italian veterinarian Walter Tarello had been seeing a condition much like CFS in a number of different species. He and his veterinary assistant wife both became ill, and were diagnosed by their physician as having CFS. When the treatment protocols they tried fail to work (as is usually the case, the etiology, organs and systems affected in CFS patients varying widely), they decided to do the blood tests on their own blood that they have been doing in their animal patients who had the same or similar symptom complex. The following articles contain information on CFS in animals and Dr. Tarello's findings.

Copies of these articles may be given to your vets to educate them about CFS in companion animals, testing and suggestive lab results, and possible treatment options.



Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in 15 Dogs and Cats with Specific Biochemical and Microbial Anomalies. Walter Tarello, DVM, Perugia, Italy. Comparative Immunology, Microbiology & Infectious Diseases, 2000, Vol. 24, No. 3

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in Cats: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment of 7 Cases. Revue de Medecine Veterinaire 2001, 152: 11. [Full text] (PDF article plus two worksheets: catlabs, catsigns)



Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (C.F.S.) in a Family of Dogs: Diagnosis and Treatment of 3 Cases. Walter Tarello, DVM, Perugia, Italy. Accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed online journal, Vet OnLine.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Associated With Staphylococcus Spp. Bacteremia, Responsive To Thiacetarsamide Sodium In 7 Dogs. Revue De Medecine Veterinaire 2001;152: 11. [Full text] (PDF article plus worksheet)



Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in Horses: Diagnosis and Treatment of 4 Cases.  Walter Tarello, DVM, Perugia, Italy. Published in Comparative Immunology, Microbiology, and Infectious Diseases (2000) Volume 23 N. 4. [Abstract from CIMID (2001) Vol. 24, No. 1]

A Case Of The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome In A Horse From USA Examined In Dubai (UAE). Accepted for Poster presentation at the Third International Clinical And Scientific Meeting: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a serious legitimate diagnosis. Sydney, 1-2 December 2001. [Abstract] (PDF article plus table)


Other Species

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) associated with Staphylococcus spp. bacteremia, responsive to potassium arsenite 0.5% in a veterinary surgeon and his co-working wife, handling with CFS animal cases (Comparative Immunology, Microbiology & Infectious Diseases 24 (4) (2001) pp. 233-246. [Full Text PDF]

Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome Associated with Staphylococcus spp. Bacteraemia Responsive to Thiacetarsamide Sodium in Eight Birds of Prey. Journal of Veterinary Medicine, Series B 48 (4), 267-281 [Abstract PDF]

Blood Testing for Pets
As of December 2001, neither Dr. Tarello nor I know of any vets in the US who are diagnosing or treating CFS in companion animals. As with humans, there is no specific test to diagnose or rule-out CFS in pets. Instead, abnormal results on a set of lab tests, along with the behavioral and other signs reported by the owner, are used by Dr. Tarello to diagnose CFS in cats, dogs, and other companion animals.

If you cannot find a vet to the testing, you may contact Dr. Tarello directly about a test kit you can obtain from him with instructions on how to obtain a sample, prepare the slides and return to him for micrococci examination. The test is US $87 without photographs, $100 with photos (as of November 2001; contact Dr. Tarello for current cost).

Graphic illustrating how to prepare a blood smear slide for the micrococci test. [.bmp; jpg]


Dr. Tarello can be reached through his clinic:
Walter Tarello
Heron Veterinary Clinics
C.P. 1644
06129 PERUGIA 5
Perugia, Italy


Melissa Kaplan notes:
All correspondence about any such arrangements for testing, lab results, etc., need to be discussed with Dr. Tarello, not with me. Dr. Tarello travels quite a bit and so there may be a delay between the time you write him and the time he is able to retrieve his email and respond.




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