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Detection of Neospora caninum tachyzoites in cerebrospinal fluid of a dog following prednisone and cyclosporine therapy

Authors

  • Bradley I. Galgut,

    1. Departments of 1Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology and 2Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA
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  • 1 Kyathanahalli S. Janardhan,

    1. Departments of 1Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology and 2Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA
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  • 1 Tanya M. Grondin,

    1. Departments of 1Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology and 2Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA
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  • 1 Kenneth R. Harkin,

    1. Departments of 1Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology and 2Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA
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  • and 2 Mary T. Wight-Carter 1

    1. Departments of 1Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology and 2Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA
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Bradley Galgut, Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, 1800 Denison Ave., Manhattan, KS 66506, USA
E-mail: bgalgut@vet.k-state.edu

Abstract

Abstract: A 9-year-old female spayed Shetland Sheepdog was presented to the Kansas State University Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for evaluation following a 3-week history of left rear limb lameness that had progressed to generalized ataxia. Multifocal or diffuse brain lesions were suspected based on physical examination findings. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) contained 52 nucleated cells/μL composed of mixed inflammatory cells. Treatment with prednisone and cyclosporine was initiated based on a presumptive diagnosis of granulomatous meningoencephalitis. Thirteen days later the dog was nonambulatory and mentally obtunded. Repeat CSF analysis revealed 298 nucleated cells/μL with 61% eosinophils. Rare protozoal tachyzoites consistent with Neospora caninum, Toxoplasma gondii, or Sarcocystis spp. were found extracellularly and within macrophages and an eosinophil. Despite cessation of prednisone and cyclosporine therapy and provision of supportive care, the dog died 6 days later. Examination of brain tissue sections revealed multifocally extensive, necrotizing, histiocytic, and lymphoplasmacytic meningoencephalitis with numerous protozoal zoites and cysts. Immunohistochemical analysis of brain tissue using a monoclonal antibody specific for N. caninum confirmed the diagnosis of neosporosis. Similar but less severe lesions were noted in the spinal cord, although organisms were not found. This case emphasizes the value of repeated CSF analysis when therapy is ineffective and the importance of excluding infectious causes of meningoencephalitis before commencement of immunosuppressive therapy.

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