Necrotizing meningoencephalitis in atypical dog breeds: a case series and literature review

Cooper JJ, Schatzberg SJ, Vernau KM, et al. 

J Vet Intern Med 2014;28:198-203.

BACKGROUND: Canine necrotizing meningoencephalitis (NME) is a fatal, noninfectious inflammatory disease of unknown etiology. NME has been reported only in a small number of dog breeds, which has led to the presumption that it is a breed-restricted disorder. HYPOTHESIS/OBJECTIVES: Our objective was to describe histopathologically confirmed NME in dog breeds in which the condition has not been reported previously and to provide preliminary evidence that NME affects a wider spectrum of dog breeds than previously reported. ANIMALS: Four dogs with NME. METHODS: Archives from 3 institutions and from 1 author’s (BS) collection were reviewed to identify histopathologically confirmed cases of NME in breeds in which the disease has not been reported previously. Age, sex, breed, survival from onset of clinical signs, and histopathologic findings were evaluated. RESULTS: Necrotizing meningoencephalitis was identified in 4 small dog breeds (Papillon, Shih Tzu, Coton de Tulear, and Brussels Griffon). Median age at clinical evaluation was 2.5 years. Histopathologic abnormalities included 2 or more of the following: lymphoplasmacytic or histiocytic meningoencephalitis or encephalitis, moderate-to-severe cerebrocortical necrosis, variable involvement of other anatomic locations within the brain (cerebellum, brainstem), and absence of detectable infectious agents. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Until now, NME has only been described in 5 small dog breeds. We document an additional 4 small breeds previously not shown to develop NME. Our cases further illustrate that NME is not a breed-restricted disorder and should be considered in the differential diagnosis for dogs with signalment and clinical signs consistent with inflammatory brain disease.