Clinicopathologic and diagnostic imaging characteristics of systemic Aspergillosis in 30 dogs

Ryan M. Schultz, Eric G Johnson, Erik R Wisner, N. A. Brown, Barbara A Byrne, Jane E Sykes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


Background: Systemic aspergillosis is a serious disease of dogs for which the clinical characteristics are poorly described. Objective: To describe the clinical and diagnostic imaging characteristics of dogs with systemic aspergillosis. Animals: Thirty dogs with systemic aspergillosis. Methods: Retrospective case review. Medical records were reviewed for signalment, clinical features, and results of clinico-pathologic testing and diagnostic imaging. Diagnosis was confirmed by culture of Aspergillus terreus (n = 13), Aspergillus deflectus (n = 11), or other Aspergillus spp. (n = 6). Results: Compared with the background hospital population, German Shepherd dogs and female dogs were overrepresented (odds ratio [OR] 43, 95% confidence interval [CI] 20-91, P < .0001, and OR 2.9, 95% CI 1.2-6.7, P = .02), respectively, with 20 of the 30 dogs being German Shepherd dogs and 77% (23 of 30) of the dogs being female. The median age was 4.5 years (range 2-8 years). Anemia, leukocytosis, hyperglobulinemia, azotemia, hypercalcemia, and hypoalbuminemia were present in 8, 21, 12, 9, 8, and 6 dogs, respectively. Diskospondylitis, osteomyelitis and thoracic lymphadenomegaly were present in 16, 10, and 5 dogs, respectively. Sonographic findings were enlarged hypoechoic lymph nodes (n = 12), mottled and irregular kidneys with or without masses (n = 12), pyelectasia, and an aggregate of echogenic material in the renal pelvis (n = 9). Thirteen dogs were treated with antifungal drugs, with survival times ranging from 0 to 25 months after diagnosis. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Systemic aspergillosis typically involves young to middle-age female German Shepherd dogs, and there are characteristic abdominal ultrasound findings with the disease process. Infection with A. deflectus was as common as A. terreus, and in rare cases, long-term survival was associated with antifungal therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-859
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Diskospondylitis
  • Fungus
  • Infection
  • Mold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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