Cerebrospinal fluid eosinophilia in dogs

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38 Scopus citations


Background: Marked eosinophilic meningitis or meningoencephalomyelitis (EME) is rarely reported in dogs and the cause is usually undetermined. Long-term prognosis for dogs with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) eosinophilia is variable. Animals: Twenty-three client-owned dogs. Methods: Retrospective case series. Dogs with eosinophilic CSF, defined as total nucleated cell count (TNCC) >3 cells/mL with >20% eosinophils, were identified by a computerized search of all dogs having cisternal and/or lumbar CSF analyzed as part of the diagnostic workup between 1992 and 2007. Results: TNCC in CSF ranged from 4 to 4,740cells/μL (median 84cells/μL, reference range ≤3 cells/μL), with 22 to 95% (median 78%) eosinophils in the differential count. An infectious agent was identified on necropsy in 4 of 23 (17%) dogs (Cryptococcus neoformans [n = 2], Neospora caninum [n = 1], and Baylisascaris procyonis [n = 1]). Each of these dogs had progressive neurologic deterioration. Sixteen dogs had idiopathic EME. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings were abnormal in 7 of 13 dogs with EME; 2 dogs had focal lesions and 5 dogs had multifocal lesions. Clinical signs in 12 of 16 (75%) dogs with idiopathic EME resolved with prednisone treatment. Three dogs with acute intervertebral disc herniations recovered after decompressive surgery alone. Conclusions: Idiopathic EME is a common cause of eosinophilic pleocytosis in dogs. MRI findings are variable. Infectious causes of EME were less common and had a poor prognosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-281
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • CSF analysis
  • Eosinophil
  • Meningitis
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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