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J Small Anim Pract. 1999 Dec;40(12):585-9.

Subacute necrotising encephalopathy in an Alaskan husky.

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Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


A 29-month-old female Alaskan husky was presented recumbent, tetraparetic and in a state of dementia, with blindness and cranial nerve deficits. The dog's progress was followed for over two months, as the signs resolved to an non-progressive mild hypermetria with slight proprioceptive ataxia, a diminished menace response and inability to prehend food. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed bilateral cavitation extending from the thalamus to the medulla, with less pronounced degenerative lesions in the caudate nucleus, putamen and claustrum. Cerebrospinal fluid lactate and pyruvate concentrations were in their normal ranges. Necropsy and histological examination confirmed the MRI findings as well as neuronal degeneration of the cerebellar cortex in the vermis and degenerative changes in the neocortex at the depths of the cerebral sulci. In view of the similarity of lesions to subacute necrotising encephalomyelopathy, known as Leigh's disease in humans, a tentative diagnosis of a mitochondrial encephalopathy was made.

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