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J Small Anim Pract. 1996 Dec;37(12):568-74.

Distribution of Neospora caninum within the central nervous system and other tissues of six dogs with clinical neosporosis.

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Department of Parasitology, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, University of Liverpool.


Six cases of neosporosis in dogs were diagnosed on the basis of clinical signs, serology and immunohistochemistry. The brains and spinal cords, at several levels, and various other tissues were examined using anti-Neospora caninum serum by an immunoperoxidase technique. Parasite density varied markedly from case to case. Although found most consistently in the cerebrum, parasites were distributed throughout the central nervous system (CNS), both within the grey and white matter and within nerve roots. Clinical signs were not related to the position of parasites. Tissue cysts were found infrequently in all areas of the CNS, but not in other tissues. Parasite density was not related to the age of the dog or whether treatment had been given. However, with the exception of the only adult dog examined, more CNS parasites were found in dogs with a longer duration of illness and with higher antibody titres. Tachyzoites were present in skeletal muscles, in the muscularis of the oesophagus, in heart, lung and, less frequently, liver, and rarely in the adrenal gland, thyroid gland and uterus; no clinical signs were seen resulting from damage to these organs. Parasites were not observed in lymphoid tissue. In visceral organs, parasites were most widely distributed in peracute cases. For post mortem diagnosis of neosporosis, the CNS, particularly the cerebrum, is the optimum tissue to examine but parasites may also be found in many other tissues, especially in acute cases. Muscle biopsy of appropriate muscles (as suggested by the clinical signs) provides the possibility of a definitive premortem diagnosis.

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