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Vet Ophthalmol. 2005 Nov-Dec;8(6):387-93.

Ocular signs of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis: a retrospective study in dogs from Barcelona, Spain.

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  • 1College of Veterinary Medicine, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Bellaterra, Barcelona 08193, Spain. marta.leiva@uab.es


Canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME) is a tick-borne disease caused by the rickettsia Ehrlichia canis. Ocular lesions are a common feature of the disease and can be present in all stages. The purpose of this retrospective study was to determine the prevalence, type and response to treatment of ocular lesions associated with monocytic ehrlichiosis in 46 affected dogs presented to the Autonomous University of Barcelona-Veterinary Teaching Hospital (UAB-VTH) from January 2000 to December 2002. Dogs were included in the study only if they had a positive serologic test for E. canis and information about the clinical outcome was available. Eighteen breeds were represented, with the German Shepherd dog (n = 6) being the most common. There were 25 intact and three castrated males, and 16 intact and two neutered females. Twenty dogs (43.4%) were between 5 and 10 years old. Seventeen dogs (37% of all cases of monocytic ehrlichiosis diagnosed during the study period) had ocular signs, and 11 dogs (64.7% of the ocular cases) had only ocular lesions without apparent systemic signs. Exudative retinal detachment was the most common ocular manifestation; other prevalent findings included anterior exudative uveitis and optic neuritis. Five of the 17 cases with ocular lesions (29.4%) had ocular bleeding disorders (hyphema or retinal hemorrhages). All the dogs with ocular disease presented with bilateral signs. Dogs with posterior segment disease had titers against E. canis that were > or = 1 : 320, while lower titers were noted in dogs with anterior exudative uveitis. Two dogs presented with chronic autoimmune panuveitis after ehrlichiosis treatment. Canine ehrlichiosis should be considered in the differential diagnosis of exudative retinal detachment and anterior uveal inflammatory lesions.

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