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Treatment and diagnosis of a dog with fulminant neurological deterioration due to anatoxin-a intoxication


  • No reprints will be available from the author.

  • The authors declare no conflict of interest.

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Dr. Birgit Puschner, Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, One Shields Ave, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA. Email: Submitted November 9, 2009; Accepted August 17, 2010.



Objective – To describe the clinical features, treatment, diagnostic work-up, and outcome of a dog with acute neurologic signs subsequent to algal toxin exposure.

Case Summary –

A Golden Retriever was presented for evaluation of acute onset of paraparesis after swimming in a man-made pond in early June and ingesting algae from a nearby bucket. The dog was anxious, had mild ptyalism, and when excited, developed generalized self-limiting tremors that progressed to generalized fasciculations and lateral recumbency. The dog was treated with activated charcoal and crystalloid fluids. Two hours after the presentation, the dog acutely decompensated and was ultimately euthanized. Gastric contents, bucket contents, pond water, bile, and urine were positive for anatoxin-a.

New or Unique Information Provided – Anatoxin-a intoxication is rarely confirmed in dogs but should be considered as a differential diagnosis in any dog with acute neurologic signs. We report the first successful detection of anatoxin-a in urine and bile of a dog exposed to blue green algae. This new test provides an enhanced diagnostic tool in suspect cases and has possible therapeutic implications in dogs.