A 6-year-old, female Labrador cross dog (Canis familiaris).This dog has a ~3y history of atopy which has been managed using allergen specific immunotherapy and symptomatic anti-pruritic therapy. At the time of biopsy the dog was receiving cyclosporin 30mg q 24hrs and ketoconazole 250mg q 24 hrs; prednisolone 6.25mg q 48hrs, Episoothe shampoo baths once a week.
On clinical examination, there were multiple erythemic dermal papular to nodular lesions located on the head, trunk and limbs ranging from 0.5cm to 4cm in diameter.
Ten tissue sections were examined from the biopsies submitted, only one was submitted as our Wednesday Slide Conference submission.Â In all sections there was moderate to marked hyperplasia of the epidermis and outer root sheath of the follicular infundibulum.Â Within basal and spinous layer keratinocytes of predominately the infundibulum, but also the epidermis were frequent, scattered protozoal pseudocysts containing numerous (~5 to 100) rectangular to banana-shaped zoites measuring ~2 x 5Î¼m (Fig.Â 3-2).Â There were occasional nodular aggregates of neutrophils and eosinophils within the follicular epithelium and epidermis associated with the protozoal pseudocysts.Â Follicular infundibulae were distended with keratin, aggregates of degenerate neutrophils and sheets of free protozoal zoites.Â There was also occasional follicular rupture (Fig.Â 3-1).Â Within the dermis was a diffuse interstitial infiltrate of neutrophils, macrophages, lymphocytes and plasma cells.Â Associated with the inflammatory infiltrate were modest numbers of free and phagocytosed protozoal zoites, which in some areas may have been within vascular endothelium.
1.Â Moderate to severe, chronic, follicular and epidermal hyperplasia and hyperkeratosis with intra-keratinocyte protozoal pseudocysts DDx: Neospora,
2.Â Moderate to marked, diffuse, interstitial pyogranulomatous dermatitis with intrahistiocytic, intraendothelial and free protozoal zoites: DDx: Neospora
3.Â Moderate to marked, multifocal, neutrophilic folliculitis and pyogranulomatous furunculosis with numerous intrakeratinocyte and free protozoal zoites:DDx Neospora
Anti-Toxoplasma IgG Indirect Immunofluorescence (IFAT) > 1:512
Anti-Toxoplasma IgM Indirect Immunofluorescence (IFAT) < 1:32
Anti-Neospora Indirect Immunofluorescence (IFAT) > 1:25600
Indirect Immunohistochemistry: Anti-Neospora Antibody (monoclonal): positive;
Anti-Toxoplasma Antibody (polyclonal).Â
Microbiology: Negative for fungal and bacterial growth
The two samples from the skin of the dog were strongly positive for Neospora caninum with a Neospora qPCR and a nested Neospora PCR.
Although indirect immunohistochemistry was positive using a monoclonal primary antibody against Neospora and a polyclonal primary antibody against Toxoplasma, the very high anti-Neospora titre supports a diagnosis of cutaneous Neosporosis in this case.Â Further work using pcr to further discriminate between Neospora and Toxoplasma is underway.
Cutaneous Neosporosis has been reported in dogs before, although it is more commonly recognized as a cause of neuromuscular disease in young dogs and abortion in cattle2.Â The predominately cutaneous manifestation of Neosporosis demonstrated in this case may be associated with the concurrent immunotherapy this dog was receiving.Â CD4+ T-cells have been shown to play an important role in mice in protecting them against N.Â caninum infection8.Â Although cyclosporine is recognized to be an effective treatment for canine atopy with minimal side effects9, the combination of prednisolone and cyclosporine treatment in this dog would have had a suppressive effect upon cell mediated immunity which is important in protecting dogs against N.Â caninum infection8.Â Neosporosis has been previously reported in an adult dog receiving prednisone and azathioprine6.Â
Haired skin: Dermatitis and furunculosis (Fig.Â 3-1), pyogranulomatous, multifocal, moderate, with neutrophilic folliculitis, and intraepithelial intrahistiocytic and free protozoa, Labrador cross (Canis familiaris), canine.
Neospora caninum is an apicomplexan that up until 1988 was often misdiagnosed as Toxoplasma gondii.3 There are three infective stages: oocysts, tachyzoites, and tissue cysts.Â Canids, in addition to acting as an intermediate host, are considered the primary definitive host.5 Oocysts are only found in and shed by the definitive host.5 Tissue cysts, 110_m diameter with a 1-4_m thick cyst wall, are usually found in the brain, spinal cord, and rarely muscle, and contain numerous 2 X 8 _m bradyzoites.1 Tachyzoites are 4-7_m X 1.5-5 _m and may be located within macrophages, keratinocytes, neutrophils, endothelial cells, or fibroblasts.5
Neosporosis affects a variety of species including sheep, goats, and deer, but most importantly, dogs and cattle.4 It is reported to be one of the most important causes of bovine abortion, and transplacental transmission can occur.4 In dogs, neurological disease in puppies is common, and cutaneous manifestations have been reported in immunosuppressed animals.4 Histologically, cutaneous lesions are composed of pyogranulomatous and eosinophilic to necrotizing and hemorrhagic dermatitis.7 Diagnosis primarily relies on serologic testing.7
N.Â caninum can be distinguished from T.Â gondii based on the following ultrastructural features.1
|Neospora caninum||Over 11 rhoptries Tachyzoites often not within a parasitophorous vacuole Tissue cysts are relatively uncommon|
|Toxoplasma gondii||Few rhoptries Always found in membrane-bound vacuole in cytoplasm|
We thank Dr.Â C.Â H.Â Gardiner, PhD, veterinary parasitology consultant to the AFIP, for his review of this case.
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