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Unusual signs of toxoplasmosis
Toxoplasmosis is sometimes diagnosed in dogs and cats and the clinical signs are extremely variable. Very unusual indead are the symptoms described in a young fennec fox (Fennecus zerda): he showed a fatal heart failure due to toxoplasmasmosis - maybe some of the `sudden and unexplained` dead kittens are also due to this infection?

A male fennec fox (Fennecus zerda) kit was examined for lethargy, inappetence, and weight loss.

Clinical findings included respiratory distress, a gallop rhythm, and retinochoroiditis. Radiography indicated pleural effusion and cardiomegaly.

Echocardiographic findings included left ventricular dilatation, low left ventricular ejection fraction, and atrioventricular valvular regurgitation.

Necropsy findings were compatible with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure caused by myocarditis.

Histopathology showed a disseminated infection with Toxoplasma gondii causing myocarditis, skeletal polymyositis, gastrointestinal myositis, and panuveitis.

Toxoplasma-induced myocarditis should be included in the differential diagnosis of heart failure and retinochoroiditis in the fennec fox.


Source: Jack J. Kottwitz, Diane E. Preziosi, Margaret A. Miller, Jose A. Ramos-Vara, David J. Maggs, John D. Bonagura (2004): Heart Failure Caused by Toxoplasmosis in a Fennec Fox (Fennecus zerda). In: Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 40:501-507 (2004)



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