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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2010 Sep;22(5):780-4.

Fatal canine adenoviral pneumonia in two litters of Bulldogs.

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  • 1Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory & Departments of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA.


Five Bulldog pups, 4 weeks of age or younger, were presented over a 2-day period for postmortem examination and diagnostic evaluation. The pups originated from 2 different litters but had been cared for at a common facility since their birth. All 5 pups died after exhibiting symptoms consisting of lethargy, dyspnea, nasal discharge, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Necropsy examination revealed locally extensive to diffusely red, firm, consolidated lungs in all pups. Histopathologically, the lungs were variably effaced by multifocal areas of necrosis. The alveolar lumens contained fibrin, edema fluid, macrophages, and neutrophils. Many of the bronchioles contained cellular debris and neutrophils admixed with sloughed bronchiolar epithelium, which often contained large intranuclear amphophilic inclusion bodies that peripherally displaced chromatin. Fluorescent antibody testing was positive for Canine adenovirus. An adenovirus isolated via cell culture was positive on direct fluorescent antibody test and was identified as Canine adenovirus serotype 2 via polymerase chain reaction. Electron microscopy revealed typical viral inclusions within bronchiolar epithelial cells. Hemolytic Escherichia coli was also isolated from the lungs in 3 of the 5 pups. The current case demonstrates a natural and rare fatal infection with a viral agent that is typically associated with immunosuppression in both animals and humans.

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