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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.

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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: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Copyright: © 2007, Informa Healthcare
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