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  • Author or Editor: Nicholas J. Haley x
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Objective—To develop a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the detection of Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum DNA in canine and feline biological samples.

Sample Population—Biological samples from 7 cats with systemic (n = 4) or CNS (3) toxoplasmosis, 6 dogs with neospora- or toxoplasma-associated encephalitis, and 11 animals with nonprotozoal disease.

Procedure—Primers for T gondii, N caninum, and the canine ferritin gene (dogs) or feline histone 3.3 gene (cats) were combined in a single PCR assay. The DNA was extracted from paraffin-embedded brain tissue, CSF, or skeletal muscle. The PCR products with positive results were cloned, and sequence identity was confirmed.

Results—Of 7 cats and 4 dogs with immunohistochemical or serologic evidence of toxoplasmosis, PCR results were positive for all cats and 3 dogs for T gondii, and positive for T gondii and N caninum for 1 dog. Another dog had negative PCR results for both parasites. Of 2 dogs with immunohistochemical or serologic evidence of neosporosis, PCR results were positive for 1 for N caninum and positive for the other for T gondii. All negative-control samples yielded negative results for T gondii and N caninum on the PCR assay.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Standard tests for toxoplasmosis or neosporosis associated with the CNS rely on serologic, histologic, or immunohistochemical analysis and can be difficult to interpret. The multiplex PCR assay with built-in control reactions could be a complementary clinical tool for the antemortem diagnosis of toxoplasmosis or neosporosis associated with the CNS. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:1507–1513)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


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.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association