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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe the imaging findings in Australian cats and dogs with CNS cryptococcosis.

ANIMALS

23 cases (10 cats; 13 dogs) with CNS cryptococcosis and brain MRI or CT studies available to review.

METHODS

Retrospective, multi-institutional case series. Brain MRI or CT studies were reviewed by a board-certified radiologist. Imaging findings were described and the differences between cats and dogs explored.

RESULTS

Morphologic features were consistent with extra-axial lesions in all (n = 13) dogs and either intra-axial (5/10) or extra-axial (4/10) lesions in cats, with 1 cat having no detectable lesions in low-field brain MRI scans. Meningeal abnormalities were most common, followed by forebrain and cerebellar lesions. Intracranial MRI lesions were typically T2 hyperintense and T1 hypo- to isointense. Four cases had T2 hypointense lesions affecting the brain, sinonasal cavity, or regional lymph nodes. Intracranial CT lesions were mostly soft tissue attenuating. Contrast enhancement was present in all cases with contrast series available, with ring enhancement shown only in cats. Osteolysis was more common in dogs than cats, particularly affecting the cribriform plate. All 13 dogs and many (6/10) cats had at least 1 lesion affecting sinonasal or contiguous tissues, and locoregional lymphadenomegaly was common (7/10 cats; 11/13 dogs).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Imaging lesions in cryptococcal meningoencephalitis were extra-axial in dogs but could be intra-axial or extra-axial in cats. Careful examination for extracranial lesions (sinonasal, retrobulbar, facial soft tissue, tympanic bullae, or locoregional lymph nodes) is important to provide alternative safe biopsy sites. T2 hypointense lesions, while rare, should prompt consideration of cryptococcosis.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To describe the clinical findings and outcomes of Australian cats and dogs with CNS cryptococcosis.

ANIMALS

19 cats and 31 dogs with CNS cryptococcosis diagnosed between 2000 and 2020.

PROCEDURES

A case series and cohort study were performed using the same 50 animals. Both studies were multi-institutional and both retrospective and prospective. Disease features were compared between cats and dogs, and associations between putative risk factors and survival time (ST) were assessed.

RESULTS

Dogs were younger at initial presentation than cats and had lower latex cryptococcal antigen agglutination titers. Extraneurologic signs were common and frequently involved sinonasal and contiguous tissues. Neuroanatomic localization was predominantly forebrain, central vestibular (including cerebellum), multifocal, or diffuse. CSF analysis predominantly showed pleocytosis, with eosinophilic inflammation common in dogs. Seventy-eight percent (39/50) of patients received antifungal treatment. Median STs (from presentation) in treated patients were 1,678 days for cats and 679 days for dogs. Abnormal mentation at presentation (in dogs) and CSF collection (in cats) were associated with shorter STs. In treated dogs, those that received glucocorticoids prior to diagnosis, or single rather than multiple antifungal agents, had shorter STs.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

The prognosis for feline and canine CNS cryptococcosis is guarded, yet long STs are possible with appropriate treatment. Presence of subtle upper respiratory tract signs may suggest cryptococcosis in patients with neurologic signs, while the absence of neurologic signs does not preclude CNS involvement.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association