Skip to main content
ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Animal Parasitic Diseases Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #306494

Title: Diagnosis and treatment of Neospora caninum-associated dermatitis in a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) with concurrent Toxoplasma gondii infection

item Dubey, Jitender
item WHITESELL, LEAH - Atlantic Veterinary College
item CULP, WILLIAM - The Joint Pathology Center (JPC)
item DAYE, SHARON - The Joint Pathology Center (JPC)

Submitted to: Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/23/2013
Publication Date: 6/1/2014
Citation: Dubey, J.P., Whitesell, L.E., Culp, W.E., Daye, S. 2014. Diagnosis and treatment of Neospora caninum-associated dermatitis in a red fox (Vulpes vulpes) with concurrent Toxoplasma gondii infection. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine. 45:454-457.

Interpretive Summary: Toxoplasma gondii, the cause of toxoplasmosis and Neospora caninum, the cause of neosporosis are related single celled organisms. Neosporis causes abortion in livestock. Toxoplasmosis is a costly foodborne parasitic infection, of especially great concern to pregnant women and people with immune deficiency. Although infection is widely prevalent, only a minority of veterinary and human infections result in severe clinical disease. Of major interest is understanding the determinants to acute toxoplasmosis. Parasite genetics, host physiology,and host immune status are clearly important. Within this context, it is important to study pathogenesis when disease is severe, especially in hosts from which infection has not been previously reported. Here, we describe in detail a case of clinical neosporosis and subclinical toxoplasmosis in a fox. It is the first report of disease in this animal. Dermatitis due to neosporosis was diagnosed ante mortem and treated successfully.Toxoplasma was isolated from the biopsy of skin.This is a rare example of dual infection by these protozoa and a dilema for diagnosis. This information will interest veterinarians, parasitologists, and all those concerned with the health effects of such foodborne parasites

Technical Abstract: A 3-month- old red fox (Vulpes vulpes) developed generalized crusty plaques on its body during rehabilitation after an automobile accident requiring amputation of 1 leg. Histological examination of biopsy of skin lesion revealed granolomatous dermatitits with many intralesional protozoal tachyzoites. The protozoa stained positively with antibodies to Neospora caninum but not to Toxoplasma gondii. Treatment with Clindamycin hydrochloride (10 mg/kg, twice daily, subcutaneously) for 1 month completely resolved lesions and protozoa were not demonstrable in biopsy of skin after treatment. The fox had agglutinating antibodies to T. gondii (modified agglutination test, titer 1:3200)and N. caninum (Neospora agglutination test, titer 1:25) and viable T. gondii (genotype III) was isolated from the skin biopsy following treatment. This is the first report of clinical neosporosis in a wild canid.