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Detection of Bartonella henselae DNA in two dogs with pyogranulomatous lymphadenitis

Sofia C. Morales DVM1, Edward B. Breitschwerdt DVM, DACVIM2, Robert J. Washabau VMD, PhD, DACVIM3, Ilze Matise DVM, PhD, DACVP4, Ricardo G. Maggi PhD5, and Ashlee W. Duncan MS6
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  • 1 Departments of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108
  • | 2 Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606
  • | 3 Departments of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108
  • | 4 Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, Saint Paul, MN 55108
  • | 5 Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606
  • | 6 Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606

Abstract

Case Description—1 dog evaluated because of inappetence and lameness of the left hind limb of 1 day's duration and 1 dog evaluated because of inappetence, fever, and lymphadenopathy of 2 weeks' duration.

Clinical Findings—Histologic examination of excisional biopsy specimens from lymph nodes revealed pyogranulomatous lymphadenitis in both dogs. Quantitative real-time PCR assays detected Bartonella henselae DNA in blood samples and affected lymph node specimens from both dogs. Antibodies against B henselae were not detected via immunofluorescent antibody testing during active disease in either dog.

Treatment and Outcome—1 dog recovered after 6 weeks of treatment with doxycycline (5 mg/kg [2.3 mg/lb], PO, q 12 h), whereas the other dog recovered after receiving a combination of azithromycin (14.5 mg/kg [6.6 mg/lb], PO, q 24 h for 21 days), doxycycline (17.3 mg/kg [7.9 mg/lb], PO, q 24 h for 4 weeks), and immunosuppressive corticosteroid (prednisone [3 mg/kg {1.4 mg/lb}, PO, q 24 h], tapered by decreasing the daily dose by 25% every 2 weeks) treatment.

Clinical RelevanceB henselae is implicated as a possible cause or a cofactor in the development of pyogranulomatous lymphadenitis in dogs. In dogs with pyogranulomatous lymphadenitis, immunofluorescent assays may not detect antibodies against B henselae. Molecular testing, including PCR assay of affected tissues, may provide an alternative diagnostic method for detection of B henselae DNA in pyogranulomatous lymph nodes.

Abstract

Case Description—1 dog evaluated because of inappetence and lameness of the left hind limb of 1 day's duration and 1 dog evaluated because of inappetence, fever, and lymphadenopathy of 2 weeks' duration.

Clinical Findings—Histologic examination of excisional biopsy specimens from lymph nodes revealed pyogranulomatous lymphadenitis in both dogs. Quantitative real-time PCR assays detected Bartonella henselae DNA in blood samples and affected lymph node specimens from both dogs. Antibodies against B henselae were not detected via immunofluorescent antibody testing during active disease in either dog.

Treatment and Outcome—1 dog recovered after 6 weeks of treatment with doxycycline (5 mg/kg [2.3 mg/lb], PO, q 12 h), whereas the other dog recovered after receiving a combination of azithromycin (14.5 mg/kg [6.6 mg/lb], PO, q 24 h for 21 days), doxycycline (17.3 mg/kg [7.9 mg/lb], PO, q 24 h for 4 weeks), and immunosuppressive corticosteroid (prednisone [3 mg/kg {1.4 mg/lb}, PO, q 24 h], tapered by decreasing the daily dose by 25% every 2 weeks) treatment.

Clinical RelevanceB henselae is implicated as a possible cause or a cofactor in the development of pyogranulomatous lymphadenitis in dogs. In dogs with pyogranulomatous lymphadenitis, immunofluorescent assays may not detect antibodies against B henselae. Molecular testing, including PCR assay of affected tissues, may provide an alternative diagnostic method for detection of B henselae DNA in pyogranulomatous lymph nodes.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Morales' present address is Coral Springs Animal Hospital, 1730 University Dr, Coral Springs, FL 33071.

The authors thank Dr. Daryl Jang for providing the information on dog 1.

Address correspondence to Dr. Morales.