Case Description—A 9-year-old male Miniature Poodle was evaluated because of progressive severe right hemiparesis, right forelimb lameness, and signs of cervical pain.
Clinical Findings—A low body condition score (2/9) and popliteal lymphadenopathy were detected. Results of a CBC, serum biochemical analyses, urinalysis, cytologic examination of bone marrow and popliteal lymph node aspirates, and serum ELISA were consistent with systemic leishmaniasis. Magnetic resonance imaging of the cervical spinal cord revealed an intramedullary mass extending from the caudal aspect of the C5 vertebral body to the C5–6 intervertebral disk space with a contrast medium–enhanced pattern that had 3 zones (central contrast medium–enhanced core, intermediate isointense zone, and peripheral contrast medium–enhanced ring). Surgical biopsy of the mass was performed by means of a right C5–6 dorsal hemilaminectomy. Results of PCR assays for detection of Leishmania DNA in CSF and tissue biopsy samples were positive.
Treatment and Outcome—Treatment for systemic leishmaniasis was initiated. Two months later, body condition, neurologic signs, and gait of the dog had substantially improved; the dog had mild right forelimb paresis at that time. Results of follow-up MRI indicated resolution of the cervical spinal cord lesion. Four months after diagnosis, the dog's neurologic condition was stable.
Clinical Relevance—To the authors’ knowledge, this report is the first in which clinical findings, clinicopathologic data, and MRI characteristics of an intramedullary inflammatory spinal cord lesion presumptively attributable to leishmaniasis in a dog have been reported, and the first report of CNS leishmaniasis in a dog with MRI resolution and a successful clinical response to treatment.