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Leishmaniasis associated to cutaneous primary extra-genital tvt in a dog


Millanta Francesca
Albanese Francesco
Abramo Francesca
Poli Alessandro

Introduction of the clinical case:

INTRODUCTION – TVT is a neoplasm peculiar of canids. For its venereal transmission, it is normally localized at the external genital organs or/and at the oral and nasal cavities. Alley dogs, immuno-compromised and generally unhealthy dogs are predisposed. Here we report a case of leishmaniasis associated to cutaneous primary extra-genital TVT in a dog living in a Mediterranean country (Naples). Leishmania was detected in the tumor cell cytoplasm thus confirming their hystiocitary origin.

Clinical case:

CASE REPORT – An alley, 7-years-old female half-cast dog was found in state of prostration. Mucosae were pale and a systemic lymphadenomegaly was detected. The skin examination showed diffuse seborrhea and three 6-8cm wide alopecic nodules in the dorsal and ventral neck area (figure 1, 2). Abdominal ultrasound examination showed splenomegaly. The serologic test for leishmania gave an antibody titer of 1:320. The cytologic examination of a nodule aspirate sample showed a mono-morphic discrete cell population with a vacuolised cytoplasm; vacuoles were organized in cordons or horseshoe-shaped and localized at the cell periphery (figure 3). Within some neoplastic cells, leishmania amastigotes were detectable.

Clinical diagnostic tests:

HISTOPATHOLOGY – the histopathologic analysis showed a subcutaneous neoplasm characterized by solid areas and cordons of proliferating cells. The abundant cytoplasm was both delicately granular and optically empty; nucleoles were evident and the mitotic index was high (figure 5). ULTRASTRUCTURAL ANALYSIS – TEM analysis of the neoplastic cells showed the presence of electron-lucid vacuoles close to the cell membrane and interdigitations between the plasma membranes of adjacent cells. In some neoplastic cells leishmania amastigotes (1-3 μm) with central nucleous and cinetoplast were detectable (figure 5).

Clinical evolution:

CLINICAL EVOLUTION – Due to the scanty general conditions the patient was fed by a naso-gastric probe and supported with fluid therapy and erythropoietin. After vincrystin administration e.v. 0,075 mg Kg-1 a decrease of the nodule volume was observable. For the continue worsening of the general conditions ths dog was euthanized.


CONCLUSIONS – The anatomical localization of TVT generally depends on behavioural habits. The interpretation of the presence of skin lesions is challenging since it could be due to a metastasis of a genital primary neoplasm or to an extra-genital primary localization. It the described case report there was a lack of genital, oral and nasal involvement as well as lack of splancnic localization thus suggesting a primary extra-genital localization. The hystiocitary nature of TVT has been recently confirmed by the expression of MHC-II, lisozym, a-1-anti-trypsin and of a specific marker of dog macrophages. The amastigotes detected in the cytoplasmic context of neoplastic cells also confirms the hystiocitary origin of TVT. The case report has been published on Veterinary Dermatology, 2002 13:243-246.


Boscos C.M., Tontis D.K., Samartzi F.C. Cutaneous involvement of TVT in dogs: a report of two cases. Canine Practice 1999, 24: 6-11. Keenan C.M., Hendricks L.D., Lightner L. et al., Visceral leishmaniosis in the German Sheperd dog. I. Infection, clinical disease and clinical pathology. Veterinary Pathology 1984, 21: 74-79.