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Publication - Dr Tristan Cogan

    Hepatic leptospiral infections in dogs without obvious renal involvement


    McCallum, KE, Constantino-Casas, F, Cullen, JM, Warland, JH, Swales, H, Linghley, N, Kortum, AJ, Sterritt, AJ, Cogan, T & Watson, PJ, 2019, ‘Hepatic leptospiral infections in dogs without obvious renal involvement’. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, vol 33., pp. 141-150


    Background: Reports of chronic hepatitis in dogs caused by Leptospira spp. are confined to small case series. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) allows the identification of spirochetes in liver samples. Consequently, this technique may help elucidate the role of Leptospira spp. in cases of chronic hepatitis. 

    Objectives: To describe cases of hepatic leptospirosis in dogs diagnosed by FISH and subsequent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) speciation, with the absence of clinically relevant renal involvement. 

    Animals: Ten client-owned dogs. 

    Methods: Retrospective case series from the University of Cambridge presented between 2013 and 2016 or cases consulted by telephone advice during this time period. Cases were selected based on histopathologically confirmed granulomatous hepatitis and leptospiral organisms identified by FISH and PCR speciation (Leptospira interrogans/kirschneri). 

    Results: All cases had increased liver enzyme activities, and FISH in combination with PCR speciation-confirmed infection with L. interrogans/kirschneri. Four dogs underwent repeat liver biopsy, FISH and PCR speciation 4-15 months after initial presentation and doxycycline treatment with 1 dog undergoing repeat sampling at necropsy. Three dogs that underwent repeat biopsy remained positive for L. interrogans/kirschneri infection. Six dogs were alive at the time of manuscript preparation and 4 dogs were euthanized as a result of progressive liver disease. 

    Conclusions and Clinical Importance: The presence of hepatic leptospiral organisms may be associated with chronic granulomatous hepatitis without clinical evidence of renal involvement. Further studies are necessary to elucidate the etiological role of these organisms in the disease.

    Full details in the University publications repository