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Corneal ulceration associated with naturally occurring canine herpesvirus-1 infection in two adult dogs

Eric C. Ledbetter DVM1, Ronald C. Riis DVM, MS, DACVO2, Thomas J. Kern DVM, DACVO3, Nicholas J. Haley DVM4, and Scott J. Schatzberg DVM, PhD, DACVIM5
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.
  • | 4 Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853.

Abstract

Case Description—An 8-year-old Labrador Retriever with diabetes mellitus in which bilateral phacoemulsification had been performed 3 weeks earlier was evaluated for acute onset of blepharospasm, and a 7-year-old Miniature Schnauzer with chronic immune-mediated thrombocytopenia was reevaluated for keratoconjunctivitis sicca that had been diagnosed 4 weeks earlier.

Clinical Findings—Dendritic corneal ulcerations were detected in both dogs. Canine herpesvirus-1 (CHV-1) was isolated from corneal swab specimens obtained during the initial evaluation of each dog and during recheck examinations performed until the ulcerations were healed. Canine herpesvirus-1 serum neutralization titers were detected in both dogs. Results of virus isolation from oropharyngeal and genital swab specimens were negative for both dogs. The isolated viruses were identified as CHV-1 via immunofluorescence, transmission electron microscopy, PCR assay, and gene sequencing. Negative controls for PCR assay and virus isolation included conjunctival swab specimens from 50 dogs without extraocular disease and corneal swab specimens from 50 dogs with corneal ulcers, respectively.

Treatment and Outcome—Lesions resolved in both dogs after topical administration of idoxuridine or trifluridine and discontinuation of topically administered immunosuppressive medications.

Clinical Relevance—To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of corneal ulcerations associated with naturally occurring CHV-1 infection and may represent local ocular recrudescence of latent CHV-1 infection. The viruses isolated were identified as CHV-1, and the morphology, antigenicity, and genotype were similar to those for CHV-1 isolates obtained from a puppy that died from systemic CHV-1 infection.

Abstract

Case Description—An 8-year-old Labrador Retriever with diabetes mellitus in which bilateral phacoemulsification had been performed 3 weeks earlier was evaluated for acute onset of blepharospasm, and a 7-year-old Miniature Schnauzer with chronic immune-mediated thrombocytopenia was reevaluated for keratoconjunctivitis sicca that had been diagnosed 4 weeks earlier.

Clinical Findings—Dendritic corneal ulcerations were detected in both dogs. Canine herpesvirus-1 (CHV-1) was isolated from corneal swab specimens obtained during the initial evaluation of each dog and during recheck examinations performed until the ulcerations were healed. Canine herpesvirus-1 serum neutralization titers were detected in both dogs. Results of virus isolation from oropharyngeal and genital swab specimens were negative for both dogs. The isolated viruses were identified as CHV-1 via immunofluorescence, transmission electron microscopy, PCR assay, and gene sequencing. Negative controls for PCR assay and virus isolation included conjunctival swab specimens from 50 dogs without extraocular disease and corneal swab specimens from 50 dogs with corneal ulcers, respectively.

Treatment and Outcome—Lesions resolved in both dogs after topical administration of idoxuridine or trifluridine and discontinuation of topically administered immunosuppressive medications.

Clinical Relevance—To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of corneal ulcerations associated with naturally occurring CHV-1 infection and may represent local ocular recrudescence of latent CHV-1 infection. The viruses isolated were identified as CHV-1, and the morphology, antigenicity, and genotype were similar to those for CHV-1 isolates obtained from a puppy that died from systemic CHV-1 infection.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Schatzberg's present address is Canada West Veterinary Specialists & Critical Care Hospital, 1988 Kootenay St, Vancouver, BC V5M 4Y3, Canada.

Presented at the 36th Annual Conference of the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, Nashville, Tenn, October 2005.

Address correspondence to Dr. Ledbetter.