Listeria monocytogenessepticemia in an immunocompromised dog

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Abstract

An 11-year-old, male castrated, Boston Terrier was presented to the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine Small Animal Emergency Service with a 2-day history of progressive ataxia, left-sided head tilt, and anorexia. The dog had previously been diagnosed with chronic lymphoid leukemia and suspected immune-mediated destruction of his bone marrow precursor cells, possibly due to therapy with immunosuppressive dosages of prednisone and azathioprine. During the physical examination, abnormal findings included an increased body temperature and horizontal nystagmus. Diagnostic investigations included a computed tomography (CT) scan, which confirmed bilateral otitis media, and a blood culture, which was positive for Listeria monocytogenes serotype 4b (epidemic clone 1). Upon treatment with ampicillin/sulbactam, enrofloxacin, and minocycline, the dog became normothermic and the neurologic signs improved. L monocytogenes serotype 4b (epidemic clone 1) has been associated with outbreaks of human listeriosis originating from food contamination. Although rare case reports of Listeria spp. infection in dogs exist, an actual infection with the epidemic clone 1 strain has never before been reported in a dog. It should be included in the differential diagnoses in immunocompromised dogs with clinical signs of septicemia.

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