Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

Protothecosis in 17 Australian dogs and a review of the canine literature

Stenner, V.J., MacKay, B., King, T., Barrs, V.R.D., Irwin, P.ORCID: 0000-0002-0006-8262, Abraham, L., Swift, N., Langer, N., Bernays, M., Hampson, E., Martin, P., Krockenberger, M.B., Bosward, K., Latter, M. and Malik, R. (2007) Protothecosis in 17 Australian dogs and a review of the canine literature. Medical Mycology, 45 (3). pp. 249-266.

Link to Published Version:
*Subscription may be required


Systemic protothecosis was diagnosed in 17 Australian dogs between 1988 and 2005. There was a preponderance of young-adult (median 4 years), medium- to large-breed dogs. Females (12/17 cases) and Boxer dogs (7 cases, including 6 purebreds and one Boxer cross) were over-represented. Sixteen of 17 dogs died, with a median survival of four months. A disproportionate number of cases were from coastal Queensland. In most patients, first signs were referable to colitis (11/17 cases), which varied in severity, and was often present for many months before other symptoms developed. Subsequent to dissemination, signs were mostly ocular (12 cases) and/or neurologic (8 cases). Two dogs had signs due to bony lesions. Once dissemination was evident, death or euthanasia transpired quickly. Prototheca organisms had a tropism for the eye, central nervous system (CNS), bone, kidneys and myocardium, tissues with a good blood supply. Microscopic examination and culture of urine (5 cases), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF;1 case), rectal scrapings (4 cases), aspirates or biopsies of eyes (5 cases) and histology of colonic biopsies (6 cases) as well as skin and lymph nodes (2 cases) helped secure a diagnosis. Of the cases where culture was successful, P wickerhamii was isolated from two patients, while P zopfii was isolated from five. P zopfii infections had a more aggressive course. Treatment was not attempted in most cases. Combination therapy with amphotericin B and itraconazole proved effective in two cases, although in one of these treatment should have been for a longer duration. One surviving dog is currently still receiving itraconazole. Protothecosis should be considered in all dogs with refractory colitis, especially in female Boxers.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Copyright: © 2007, Informa Healthcare
Item Control Page Item Control Page