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J Vet Intern Med. 1992 Nov-Dec;6(6):325-32.

Neospora caninum infection in English Springer Spaniel littermates. Diagnostic evaluation and organism isolation.

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1
Department of Medical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Abstract

Progressive paraparesis developed in four male English Springer Spaniel pups from a litter of five during the first 10 weeks of life. Two of the pups, which had the earliest onset of neurologic signs, were euthanatized without further workup. However, a detailed investigation was completed on the remaining two littermates at 12 weeks of age. Both pups had progressive paraparesis for 3 to 4 weeks before presentation, with one dog developing subsequent asymmetric pelvic limb extensor rigidity. Based on results from neurologic examination, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) analysis, electrophysiology, and muscle/nerve biopsy, a presumptive diagnosis of protozoal polyradiculitis and polymyositis was made. Necropsy of the most severely affected pup confirmed the clinical diagnosis of inflammatory nerve root and muscle disease but no organisms were found. To increase the potential yield of organisms, the second pup was placed on immunosuppressive doses of corticosteroids and euthanatized 2 weeks later. Numerous organisms were found in lesions in muscle and the central nervous system. Organisms grew in tissue culture and were isolated from the peritoneal fluid of gerbils inoculated with infected tissue. Organisms were not isolated from inoculated mice, guinea pigs, rabbits, and hamsters. No parasites were seen in feces or tissues of three cats fed infected dog tissues. Serologic testing demonstrated a strong positive titer to Neospora caninum in both pups, and electron microscopy showed the characteristic morphology of this parasite.

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