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Vet Pathol. 2008 May;45(3):336-46. doi: 10.1354/vp.45-3-336.

Necrotizing meningoencephalitis in five Chihuahua dogs.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


An acute to chronic idiopathic necrotizing meningoencephalitis was diagnosed in 5 Chihuahua dogs aged between 1.5 and 10 years. Presenting neurologic signs included seizures, blindness, mentation changes, and postural deficits occurring from 5 days to 5.5 months prior to presentation. Cerebrospinal fluid analyses from 2 of 3 dogs sampled were consistent with an inflammatory disease. Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain of 2 dogs demonstrated multifocal loss or collapse of cortical gray/white matter demarcation hypointense on T1-weighted images, with T2-weighted hyperintensity and slight postcontrast enhancement. Multifocal asymmetrical areas of necrosis or collapse in both gray and white matter of the cerebral hemispheres was seen grossly in 4 brains. Microscopically in all dogs, there was a severe, asymmetrical, intensely cellular, nonsuppurative meningoencephalitis usually with cystic necrosis in subcortical white matter. There were no lesions in the mesencephalon or metencephalon except in 1 dog. Immunophenotyping defined populations of CD3, CD11d, CD18, CD20, CD45, CD45 RA, and CD79a immunoreactive inflammatory cells varying in density and location but common to acute and chronic lesions. In fresh frozen lesions, both CD1b,c and CD11c immunoreactive dendritic antigen-presenting cells were also identified. Immunoreactivity for canine distemper viral (CDV) antigen was negative in all dogs. The clinical signs, distribution pattern, and histologic type of lesions bear close similarities to necrotizing meningoencephalitis as described in series of both Pug and Maltese breed dogs and less commonly in other breeds.

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