Bartonella henselae in a dog with ear tip vasculitis

Brittany L. Southern, Pradeep Neupane, Marna E. Ericson, Jamie C. Dencklau, Keith E. Linder, Julie M. Bradley, Gabriel P. McKeon, Charles T. Long, Edward B. Breitschwerdt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Bartonella henselae, a Gram-negative, zoonotic, alpha-proteobacteria has been previously implicated in association with cutaneous vasoproliferative lesions (bacillary angiomatosis), nodular panniculitis and multifocal erythema (erythema multiforme) in dogs. Objective: Describe clinical, microbiological and histological lesions in a dog with ear margin vasculitis and B. henselae infection. Animals: A 12-month-old, specific pathogen-free intact female beagle dog maintained in a vector-free laboratory animal resource facility. Methods and materials: Bartonella and Rickettsia serological evaluation, Bartonella and Rickettsia PCR, Bartonella alpha-proteobacteria growth medium (BAPGM) enrichment blood culture/PCR, histopathological investigation and confocal immunohistochemical evaluation. Results: Serological investigation (seroreversion) and PCR testing of aural tissue biopsies failed to support Rickettsia rickettsii as a cause of the aural vasculitis; however, B. henselae, genotype San Antonio 2 DNA was amplified and sequenced from both ear tip margins and from normal-appearing abdominal skin. Seroconversion to B. henselae was documented retrospectively by IFA testing. Bartonella henselae organisms were visualized by confocal immunostaining within all three biopsies. Histopathology revealed small vessel necrotizing vasculitis and dermal necrosis. Bartonella henselae seroreversion and complete resolution of skin lesions occurred in conjunction with administration of oral doxycycline and enrofloxacin for six weeks. Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Bartonella henselae is an emerging zoonotic pathogen that has been associated with leucocytoclastic vasculitis in humans and may have had a contributing or causative role in the development of the cutaneous aural margin vasculitis in this beagle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)537-e180
JournalVeterinary Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Accepted 14 August 2018 Conflicts of interest: In conjunction with Sushama Sontakke and North Carolina State University, Edward B. Breitschwerdt holds US patent number 7,115,385; Media and Methods for cultivation of micro-organisms, which was issued October 3, 2006. He is a co-founder, shareholder and Chief Scientific Officer for Galaxy Diagnostics, a company that provides advanced diagnostic testing for the detection of Bartonella species infections. The remaining authors have no competing interests. Sources of funding: This study was supported in part by IDEXX Laboratories and by unrestricted donations to the NCSU-CVM Foundation for Bartonella/Vector Borne Diseases Research, Raleigh, NC, USA.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 ESVD and ACVD


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