Neospora caninum associated with septic peritonitis in an adult dog

Tara A. Holmberg, William Vernau, Ann C. Melli, Patricia A Conrad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


A 7-year-old, male neutered Rhodesian Ridgeback dog was referred to the University of California-Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital with a 4-month history of peritonitis and episodic abdominal discomfort, lethargy, and weakness. Marked abdominal distension with a prominent fluid wave was noted on physical examination. Cytologic analysis of the abdominal fluid indicated a septic exudate with mixed bacteria and many protozoal zoites. Differentials for the identity of the protozoal zoites included Toxoplasma gondii, Sarcocystis neurona, and Neospora caninum. Indirect latex agglutination antigen testing, standard indirect fluorescent antibody testing, and PCR analysis were performed to identify the zoites. The dog's serum antibody titer for N caninum tachyzoites was 1:20,480, known polysera to N caninum reacted against zoites in the abdominal fluid, and PCR analysis of the abdominal fluid was positive for the presence of a known gene of N caninum. Based on the morphologic, immunologic, and molecular findings, the zoites were identified as N caninum. It remains unclear how the tachyzoites gained access to the peritoneal cavity. To the authors' knowledge, there are no reports of free N caninum in abdominal fluid of any species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-238
Number of pages4
JournalVeterinary Clinical Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Abdominal fluid analysis
  • Cytology
  • Dog
  • Neospora
  • Peritonitis
  • Protozoa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • veterinary(all)


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