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Comparison of serologic evaluation via agar gel immunodiffusion and fungal culture of tissue for diagnosis of nasal aspergillosis in dogs

Jill S. Pomrantz DVM, DACVIM1, Lynelle R. Johnson DVM, PhD, DACVIM2, Richard W. Nelson DVM, DACVIM3, and Erik R. Wisner DVM, DACVR4
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  • 1 Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Departments of Veterinary Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 Departments of Veterinary Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 4 Departments of Veterinary Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

Objective—To compare the sensitivity and specificity of serologic evaluation and fungal culture of tissue for diagnosis of nasal aspergillosis in dogs.

Design—Prospective study.

Animals—58 dogs with nasal discharge and 26 healthy dogs.

Procedures—Dogs with nasal discharge were anesthetized and underwent computed tomography and rhinoscopy; nasal tissues were collected for histologic examination and fungal culture. Sera were assessed for antibodies against Aspergillus spp (healthy dog sera were used as negative control specimens). Nasal aspergillosis was diagnosed in dogs that had at least 2 of the following findings: computed tomographic characteristics consistent with aspergillosis, fungal plaques detected during rhinoscopy, and histologically detectable fungal hyphae in nasal tissue. Histologic characteristics of malignancy were diagnostic for neoplasia. Without evidence of neoplasia or fungal disease, nonfungal rhinitis was diagnosed.

Results—Among the 58 dogs, 21 had nasal aspergillosis, 25 had nonfungal rhinitis, and 12 had nasal neoplasia. Fourteen aspergillosis-affected dogs and 1 dog with nonfungal rhinitis had serum antibodies against Aspergillus spp. Fungal culture results were positive for Aspergillus spp only for 17 dogs with aspergillosis. With regard to aspergillosis diagnosis, sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values were 67%, 98%, 93%, and 84%, respectively, for serum anti-Aspergillus antibody determination and 81%, 100%, 100%, and 90%, respectively, for fungal culture.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that seropositivity for Aspergillus spp and identification of Aspergillus spp in cultures of nasal tissue are highly suggestive of nasal aspergillosis in dogs; however, negative test results do not rule out nasal aspergillosis.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Pomrantz's present address is Institute of Comparative Medicine, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032.

Supported by the Center for Companion Animal Health (03-73-R), University of California, Davis, and the Bailey Wrigley Fund.

Presented in part at the 23rd Annual Forum of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Baltimore, June 2005.

Address correspondence to Dr. Johnson.