CV page

Cecilia Ley

Cecilia Ley
I am a veterinary pathologist, researcher and senior lecturer in veterinary pathology at SLU. I am fascinated by the subject of pathology (the doctrine of our diseases) and my work aims to increase our knowledge of causes and mechanisms of disease in animals. Through increased disease knowledge, preventative disease strategies, improved methods for diagnosis and treatment can be developed. I am also program director for the specialist education in veterinary pathology at SLU.


As a veterinary pathologist, I have a broad interest in animal diseases, but I am particularly interested in diseases that affect companion animals. As a specialist in veterinary pathology, I have broad knowledge in the subject and can contribute with expertise in several different contexts. In addition to research and teaching, my employment at SLU includes performing diagnostic pathology on biopsies from patients seen at the University Animal Hospital and the Ambulatory Clinic at SLU. I thoroughly enjoy teaching both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and I think it is especially rewarding when teaching and research is linked, for example through students' degree projects. 


I teach in the courses Special Pathology and Clinical Pathology, and I have been course leader for Special Pathology in the Veterinary program for many years. The teaching has mainly involved necropsies, diseases of the endocrine system, neuropathology and histopathology. Further, I am mentor for veterinarians who participate in specialist training in pathology at BVF.


My current research is focused on diseases of cats, where I lead projects about the joint disease osteoarthritis. I also work on projects that aim to increase the knowledge about chest malformations, 'staggering disease' and diabetes mellitus in cats.  Since 2022 I am engaged in a project on encephalitis in dogs and humans.

In my research on osteoarthritis in cats, underlying causes, disease development and how the diagnosis of the disease can be improved are investigated. I am mainly interested in how inflammation and metabolic parameters (such as body fat and bone density) are related to osteoarthritis. In the project “Osteoarthritis in cats - morphology, diagnostics and impact of obesity” increased body fat as a risk factor for osteoarthritis and associations between articular cartilage lesions, bone- and meniscal changes and inflammation are investigated. In another project, "Mechanisms of joint disease in cats - from whole body examination to molecular changes", the focus is on associations between osteoarthritis and bone-stimulatory substances. In the studies, whole-body computed tomography is combined with different types of tissue examinations. 

In the project "Genetic background to flat chest in Bengal cats", the goal is to find the hereditary defects in the genome that lead to malformation of the chest.

In collaboration with colleagues from Sweden, Germany and Austria, I have ongoing research on 'staggering disease' in cats. 'Staggering disease' is a serious infectious disease that causes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. In a joint research project between SLU, the National Veterinary Institute (SVA), Uppsala University, Ludwig Maximilian University and Friedrich-Loefller Institute we aim to increase our understanding of encephaliltis in dogs and people.



  • 2022-2025 Viral encephalitides in dogs and humans – identification of causes and disease patterns in Swedish populations (Skriftställare Birgitta Carlsson Fund, SLU) (project leader)
  • 2017-2021 Mechanisms of joint disease in cats - from whole-body examination to molecular changes (Stiftelsen Sällskapsdjurens forskningfond, SLU) (project leader)
  • 2016-2018 Genetic Background to Flat Chest in the Bengal cat (Agria and SKK Research Fund) (co-applicant)
  • 2014-2016 Feline osteoarthritis - morphology, diagnostic methods and influence of obesity (Agria and SKK Research Fund) (project leader)
  • 2015-2016 Osteoarthritis in cats - an inflammatory condition related to obesity? (Stiftelsen Sällskapsdjurens forskningfond, SLU) (project leader)
  • 2011-2013 Inflammatory mediators of equine osteoarthritis (The Swedish-Norwegian Foundation for Equine Research) (co-applicant)


After my veterinary degree in 1994, I worked for a few years as a clinic veterinarian in Sweden and abroad (Great Britain and Australia).

In 2003 I started a postgraduate position in pathology at SLU, focusing on the role of inflammation in osteoarthritis in horses. In 2010 I defended my thesis "Inflammatory Response in Equine Joints - Studies on Proinflammatory Cytokines in Diseased Joints and Chondrocyte Cultures".

Employment history after dissertation

  • 2016- Senior lecturer in veterinary pathology, SLU (absence of leave Sept 2021-Aug 2022, July 2017-Dec 2017)
  • 2021-2022 Laboratory veterinarian (veterinary pathologist), National Veterinary Institute (SVA), Uppsala
  • 2017 Senior lecturer in veterinary pathology, Murdoch University, Perth, Australia
  • 2013-2016 Lecturer in veterinary pathology, SLU
  • 2010-2013 Resident in veterinary pathology, SLU


  • Diplomate of European College of Veterinary Pathologists (ECVP) 2013
  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (SLU) 2010
  • Australian National Veterinary Exams 1997
  • Master of Science in Veterinary Medicine (SLU) 1994

Selected publications

Ley C et al. Falciform fat:femur length ratio provides a novel method for objective postmortem estimation of total body fat in overweight and obese cats. J. Vet. Diagn. Invest. 2022 Jan 10; 1–9

Ley CJ et al. Computed tomography is superior to radiography for detection of feline elbow osteoarthritis. Res. Vet. Sci. 2021 Nov;140:6-17

Ley C et al. Acetabular margin changes in feline hip joints - Implications for radiologic diagnosis and development of osteoarthritis. Res. Vet. Sci. 2021 Jul;137:243-251

Strage EM et al. Homeostasis model assessment, serum insulin and their relation to body fat in cats. BMC Vet. Res. 2021 Jan 18;17(1):34

Blomqvist MA et al. Presence of CD3 + and CD79a + lymphocytes in the pituitary gland of dogs at post-mortem examination. J Comp. Pathol. 2020, Apr;176:116-121

Mellgren T et al. Guided bone tissue regeneration using a hollow calcium phosphate based implant in a critical size rabbit radius defect. Biomed. Mater. 2021;16:035018

Hedenqvist P et al. The effect of housing environment on bone healing in a critical radius defect in New Zealand White rabbits. PLoS One. 2020 May 21;15(5):e0233530

Trbakovic A et al. A new synthetic granular calcium phosphate compound induces new bone in a sinus lift rabbit model. J. Dent. 2018 Mar;70:31-39

Leijon A et al. Cartilage lesions in feline stifle joints – associations with articular mineralizations and implications for osteoarthritis. Res. Vet. Sci. 2017;114:186-193

Blomström AL, Ley C, Jacobson M. Astrovirus as a possible cause of congenital tremor type AII in piglets? Acta Vet. Scand. 2014;56:82

Löfgren M et al. Cell and matrix modulation in prenatal and postnatal equine growth cartilage, zones of Ranvier and articular cartilage. J. Anat. 2014;225(5):548-568

Svala E et al. Effects of interleukin-6 and interleukin-1 on expression of growth differentiation factor-5 and Wnt signaling pathway genes in equine chondrocytes. AJVR. 2014;75(2):132-140

Web-based popular science research presentation (in Swedish)



Senior Lecturer at the Department of Biomedical Science and Veterinary Public Health; Pathology Unit
Telephone: +4618671204
Postal address:
Patologi, Box 7023
Visiting address: Ulls väg 26, Uppsala