, Volume 203, Issue 2, pp 85-91
Date: 06 Dec 2013

Comparative microbiological features of Bartonella henselae infection in a dog with fever of unknown origin and granulomatous lymphadenitis

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We report the first documented case of Bartonella henselae infection in a dog from France and the first isolation of B. henselae from a dog with fever of unknown origin. This observation contributes to the “One Health” concept focusing on zoonotic pathogens emerging from companion animals. A 1-year-old female German shepherd dog was referred for evaluation of fever of unknown origin of 1 month duration. Diagnostic investigations confirmed diffuse pyogranulomatous lymphadenitis. The dog became afebrile, and lymph node size normalized in response to a 6-week course of doxycycline. Retrospectively, Bartonella DNA was amplified from an EDTA-anticoagulated blood sample obtained before antimicrobial therapy, with the gtlA fragment sharing 99 % identity with the 350-bp gtlA fragment of the B. henselae Houston-1 strain. The same strain was isolated in the blood of three healthy cats from the household. Two months after discontinuation of doxycycline, the dog experienced a febrile relapse. Bartonella DNA was again amplified from blood prior to and immediately after administration of a 6-week course azithromycin therapy. However, without administration of additional medications, PCR was negative 9 months after azithromycin therapy and the dog remains clinically healthy 12 months following the second course of antibiotics. The medical management of this case raises several clinically relevant comparative infectious disease issues, including the extent to which Bartonella spp. contribute to fever of unknown origin and pyogranulomatous inflammatory diseases in dogs and humans, and the potential of doxycycline and azithromycin treatment failures. The possibility that dogs could constitute an underestimated reservoir for B. henselae transmission to people is also discussed.