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Acute vision loss following tick-borne encephalitis
This currently published case-report describes an uncommon cause of acute vision loss in a young dog: It is thought to be due to optic neuritis following viral tick-borne encephalitis. Thus, in endemic areas this possibility should be added to the differentials of acute vision loss.

A 3-year-old spayed female Siberian Husky was presented due to acute vision loss. Examination revealed bilateral optic neuritis and lymphocytic meningoencephalitis.

The serum (1:800) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF; 1:200) immunoglobulin (Ig)G titers for tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) were elevated as were the serum IgG titer for Anaplasma phagocytophilum (1:640) and serum IgM titer for Toxoplasma gondii (1:20).
Intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies such as ehrlichial or anaplasmal morulae were not observed in the CSF or blood smear.

The dog was treated with methylprednisone and doxycycline. The left eye regained vision; the right eye remained blind. Anti-inflammatory therapy was stopped on day 18 after diagnosis.

Four days later the dog showed evidence of hyperesthesia in the cervical region. Analysis of CSF showed no abnormalities and CSF IgG titers for TBEV and A. phagocytophilum were negative. Funduscopic evidence of active papillitis was absent on day 22 in the left eye and on day 86 in the right eye.

On day 243, the dog was presented again with lethargy, ataxia, disorientation and temporary head tilt. The IgG titer for TBEV was again elevated in the CSF (1:800) and in serum (1:400).

After interpretation of all findings, we assume that meningoencephalitis and optic neuritis in this patient was caused by TBEV and associated immune-mediated inflammation. In endemic areas, TBEV should be considered as cause of optic neuritis in dogs.


Source: Stadtbäumer, K., Leschnik, M. W. & Nell, B. (2004): Tick-borne encephalitis virus as a possible cause of optic neuritis in a dog. In:
Veterinary Ophthalmology 7 (4), 271-277.



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