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To evaluate the utility of enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) for the detection of Coccidioides antigen and antibody in CSF in the diagnosis of CNS coccidioidomycosis in dogs.


51 dogs evaluated for CNS disease in a single specialty center in Tucson in 2016.


Excess CSF after routine analysis was banked after collection from dogs presented to the neurology service. Samples were tested by EIA for presence of Coccidioides antigen and antibody. Clinical data were collected from medical records retrospectively.


22 dogs were diagnosed with CNS coccidioidomycosis (CCM) or another neurologic disease (non-CCM). These groups of dogs overlapped in the presenting complaints, MRI results, and routine CSF analysis results. Four dogs, all with CCM, had positive antigen EIA results. With clinical diagnosis used as the reference standard, CSF antigen testing had low sensitivity (20%) but high specificity (100%) for diagnosis of CCM. Ten dogs with CCM and 4 dogs with other diagnoses had antibody detected in CSF by EIA. Sensitivity of CSF antibody testing was 46%, specificity was 86%, and positive and negative predictive values for the study population were 71% and 68%, respectively.

Clinical Relevance

Diagnosis of CNS coccidioidomycosis in dogs in an endemic region was hampered by overlap of clinical signs with other neurologic disorders and the low sensitivity of confirmatory diagnostics. The evaluated Coccidioides-specific EIAs performed on CSF can aid in the diagnosis. A prospective study is warranted to corroborate and refine these preliminary findings

Open access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research