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J Vet Diagn Invest. 2002 May;14(3):194-204.

Autosomal recessive severe combined immunodeficiency of Jack Russell terriers.

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Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824, USA.


Because of unexplained mortality among 33 sibling offspring of a single pair of dogs, a family of Jack Russell Terriers was investigated. Twelve pups, 5 male and 7 female, died between 8 and 14 weeks of age. Six of those animals died in the field within 50 hours following vaccination with modified live vaccines. Subsequent histopathologic examination revealed the absence of splenic white pulp in 4 dogs and hepatic inclusions diagnostic for adenoviral infection in 2 dogs. Two additional litters yielded 2 pups with the same splenic and hepatic lesions. These observations led to a detailed study of 7 siblings whelped specifically for this investigation. Four of these 7 siblings had a profound lymphopenia and a decrease in serum immunoglobulins. Six of these dogs were necropsied at 7 weeks of age, and 4 of them had marked hypoplasia of all lymphoid tissue. The affected pups had an 86% decrease in mean thymic weight, with poor corticomedullary differentiation, and very few CD3-positive (T cell) thymocytes were detected immunohistochemically. However, the affected thymic tissue stained intensely with a immunochemical stain for cytokeratin. The other affected lymphoid tissues were identified histologically only by stromal architectural characteristics. Lymph nodes lacked both CD3 and CD79a (B cell) positive cells. The analyzed breeding data were consistent with an autosomal recessive mode of inheritance. This canine severe combined immunodeficiency has immunologic and pathologic features similar to those observed in immunodeficient C.B-17 mice and Arabian horses.

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