Gonzalo-Nadal et al.
Suspected tick-borne flavivirus meningoencephalomyelitis in dogs from the UK: six cases (2021)
J Small Anim Pract. Published online November 13, 2023. doi:10.1111/jsap.13682

Recently, TBE antibodies have been found in deer and TBE virus has been detected in ticks in the United Kingdom. In addition, TBE cases have been diagnosed in humans. However, so far no TBE cases in dogs have been described in the UK.

An observational retrospective multicenter case-series study has been carried out in the UK, in which dogs had neurological signs or had antibodies to TBE or Louping ill virus (LIV) or had positive postmortem immunohistochemical staining for TBE virus and/or LIV. This case series described in detail the clinical, clinicopathological, and imaging features as well as the outcome of six dogs with meningoencephalomyelitis caused by flavivirus of the TBE serocomplex in the UK. Included in the diagnostic analyses were serological analyses in serum and CSF using IgM and/or IgG TBE ELISA and hemagglutinin inhibition tests for LIV.

The six cases shared similar clinical signs, and MRI showed similar features characterized by bilateral, symmetrical and diffuse lesions affecting the grey matter of different parts of the CNS.

Serology yielded positive results in all but one dog for TBE virus and the three tested dogs for LIV. The differences between TBE virus and LIV IgM and IgG antibodies were insufficient to provide a final diagnosis or the identity of the infecting virus (due to cross-reactivity between these two viruses). However, it should be noted that the neuropathological findings in the dogs were similar to those recently reported in other dogs in the literature, and the dogs were living outside of regions where LIV is known to circulate.

The authors concluded that these cases raise awareness of the presence of TBE as an emergent disease or an increased prevalence of LIV affecting dogs in the UK.

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