Neosporosis and hammondiosis in dogs
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- Journal of Small Animal Practice, 2007, 48 (6), pp. 308 - 312
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The dog is a definitive host of the protozoan parasite Neospora caninum, and in many parts of the world, infection is relatively common as determined by serology. Reported seroprevalences usually range from 0 to 20 per cent, however, reports of clinically affected dogs are infrequent. Affected dogs are generally less than six months old and predominantly have signs of an ascending hindleg paralysis, with the associated lesions of polyradiculoneuritis and granulomatous polymyositis. Although any organ may be affected, infections are more common in the central nervous system, muscles, lungs and skin. Ante-mortem diagnosis is difficult but serology and cytology can aid diagnosis. The diagnosis can be confirmed by histology, immunohistochemistry, the use of molecular techniques on biopsy material, or on post-mortem examination. Neospora caninum oocysts are rarely found in faeces and must be differentiated from oocysts of related coccidians such as Hammondia heydorni and Toxoplasma gondii. Hammondia heydorni can cause diarrrhoea in immunosuppressed dogs. Neosporosis should be suspected in young pups with an ascending paralysis of the hindlegs. Treatment with clindamycin and potentiated sulphonamides may be useful in cases where muscular atrophy and fibrosis are absent. Feeding of raw meat is a potential risk factor for infection of dogs and should be discouraged. © 2007 British Small Animal Veterinary Association.
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