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Keywords:

  • Blood smear;
  • coinfection;
  • Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC);
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC);
  • PCR

Abstract

A 4-year-old neutered female crossbred Shepherd was referred for a history of 10 days of anorexia, polyuria, polydipsia, polyadenomegaly, and diarrhea. On physical examination, the dog appeared quiet, responsive, and apyretic, with generalized and severe lymphadenomegaly. Hematologic abnormalities included neutrophilic leukocytosis with left shift, and lymphopenia. Blood smears revealed intracytoplasmic bacilli negatively stained with May–Grünwald–Giemsa in neutrophils and monocytes. Lymph node smears revealed pyogranulomatous adenitis with calcified deposits and many negative-staining rod structures, both within the cytoplasm of neutrophils and macrophages, and free in the background. An acid-fast stain (Ziehl–Neelsen) confirmed the diagnosis of mycobacterial infection. The dog was euthanized for public health and ethical reasons, and the postmortem examination revealed severe and generalized granulomatous and necrotizing lymphadenitis, panniculitis, and hepatitis, and infiltration of epithelioid macrophages in the lungs, colon, and spleen. Numerous acid-fast bacilli, consistent with mycobacterial infection, were observed both in the cytoplasm of epithelioid macrophages and giant cells, and free in the background. Mycobacterium bovis was first confirmed by conventional PCR of organ extracts. Mycobacterium avium was detected in a culture of the same organs. Further PCR amplifications and sequencing revealed a coinfection with 2 different species of mycobacterium, one belonging to the Mycobacterium avium complex and the other to the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex.