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Clinical features and epidemiology of cryptococcosis in cats and dogs in California: 93 cases (1988–2010)

Sameer R. Trivedi DVM1, Jane E. Sykes BVSC, PhD, DACVIM2, Matthew S. Cannon DVM, DACVR3, Erik R. Wisner DVM, DACVR4, Wieland Meyer PhD5, Beverly K. Sturges DVM, MS, DACVIM6, Peter J. Dickinson BVSc, PhD, DACVIM7, and Lynelle R. Johnson DVM, PhD, DACVIM8
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  • 1 Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 3 Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 4 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 5 Molecular Mycology Research Laboratory, Centre for Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Westmead Millennium Institute, Sydney Medical School-Western, The University of Sydney at Westmead Hospital, Westmead, NSW 2145, Australia.
  • | 6 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 7 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 8 Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616

Abstract

Objective—To compare clinical features of cryptococcosis among cats and dogs in California, determine whether the distribution of involved tissues differs from distribution reported previously in a study in southeastern Australia, and identify Cryptococcus spp isolated from the study population.

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—62 cats and 31 dogs with cryptococcosis.

Procedures—Medical records of cats and dogs with cryptococcosis were reviewed. Information collected included geographic location, species, signalment, and tissues or organs involved. Cryptococcosis was confirmed via serology, cytology, histology, or microbial culture, and molecular typing was performed. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated to determine significant associations among variables. Other comparisons were evaluated via χ2 or unpaired t tests.

Results—American Cocker Spaniels were overrepresented, compared with other dog breeds. Serum cryptococcal antigen test results were positive in 51 of 53 cats and 15 of 18 dogs tested. Cryptococcus gattii was more commonly detected in cats (7/9 for which species identification was performed), and Cryptococcus neoformans was more commonly detected in dogs (6/8). Six of 7 C gattii isolates from cats were molecular type VGIII. Distribution of involved tissues was different between cats and dogs in California and between populations of the present study and those of the previously reported Australian study.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Strains of Cryptococcus spp appeared to have host specificity in dogs and cats. Differences in lesion distribution between geographic locations may reflect strain differences or referral bias. Antigen assays alone may not be sufficient for diagnosis of cryptococcosis in cats and dogs.

Contributor Notes

The authors thank Eileen Samitz for providing archived isolates for this study.

Address correspondence to Dr. Sykes (jesykes@ucdavis.edu).