Computed tomography of necrotizing meningoencephalitis in 3 Yorkshire Terriers

Ducote JM, Johnson KE, Dewey CW, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 1999;40:617-621.

A necrotizing meningoencephalitis of Yorkshire terriers has recently been reported in 6 dogs in Switzerland, 1 dog in Japan and 1 dog in the United States. The purpose of this report is to describe the computed tomographic (CT) findings in 3 dogs with this disease, and to correlate the CT abnormalities with the clinical and pathologic findings in each case. Three Yorkshire Terriers between 2 and 10 years old were evaluated. Physical and neurologic examinations, complete blood count (CBC), serum biochemistry profile, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, and CT scan were performed on all 3 dogs. Brainstem auditory evoked responses (BAER) were evaluated for 2 dogs. Two dogs were euthanized at the owners’ request and necropsies were performed. Neurologic examination findings were consistent with a multifocal/diffuse encephalitis involving the cerebrum and brainstem in all 3 dogs. Complete blood count and biochemistry profiles were normal. Elevated protein concentration and a mononuclear pleocytosis were demonstrated in 2 of 3 dogs on cerebrospinal fluid evaluation. Multifocal, extensive areas of decreased opacity throughout the cerebral hemispheres, asymmetric ventriculomegaly, and lack of contrast enhancement were appreciated on CT images of all three dogs. No mass effect was seen. These findings correlated well with pathologic findings at necropsy, which included multiple malacic cavitations within the brain, representing areas of locally extensive necrosis. CT abnormalities in combination with signalment, clinical findings and cerebrospinal fluid analysis should facilitate a presumptive diagnosis of Yorkshire Terrier necrotizing meningoencephalitis.