• Open Access

Nemaline Rods in Canine Myopathies: 4 Case Reports and Literature Review


Department of Pathology 0612, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093–0612; e-mail: gshelton@ucsd.edu.


The diagnosis of nemaline rod myopathy (NM) is based on the presence of numerous pathognomonic rods within a fresh frozen muscle biopsy specimen. Three forms of congenital NM have been described in humans, and rods have been found to occur in various other conditions. A similar myopathy was described in 1986 in a family of cats. In this report, we describe a case of congenital NM in a 10-month-old Border Collie, an adult-onset NM in an 11-year-old Schipperke, and 2 acquired myopathies with nemaline rods in adult dogs associated with hypothyroidism and Cushing's syndrome. Common clinical features included exercise intolerance, abnormal electromyography, and the presence of nemaline rods in fresh, frozen, and glutaraldehyde-fixed biopsies from proximal appendicular limb muscles. Staining of cryostat sections of muscle biopsy specimens by the modified Gomori trichrome technique disclosed numerous rod bodies that were localized to type 1 fibers by the histochemical adenosine triphosphatase reaction. Accumulation of rods also was demonstrated by electron microscopy in 2 of the cases with localized enlargement and streaming of Z lines. Documentation of NM in a young Border Collie and the adult-onset form in the Schipperke alerts clinicians to the existence of this disorder in these breeds.