Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis has been described in dogs that seroreact to Borrelia burgdorferi; however, no studies have compared clinicopathologic differences in Lyme-seroreactive dogs with protein-losing nephropathy (PLN) to dogs with Borrelia-seronegative PLN. In this study, we hypothesized that dogs with Borrelia C6 antigen-seroreactive PLN have distinct clinicopathologic findings when compared to dogs with Borrelia seronegative PLN. Specifically, we hypothesized that seroreactive dogs were more likely to have polyarthritis and thrombocytopenia.
This study was a retrospective prevalence case-control study. One hundred and eighteen dogs with PLN and Borrelia C6 antigen testing between 2002 and 2015 were identified (40 seroreactive dogs, and 78 temporally-matched seronegative dogs). Clinical information was retrieved from the University of California, Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Histopathology of renal tissue procured by biopsy and/or necropsy of dogs with PLN was reviewed.
Retrievers and retriever mixes were overrepresented in seroreactive dogs (p < 0.001). Seroreactive dogs were more likely to have polyarthritis (p = 0.044), thrombocytopenia (p < 0.001), azotemia (p = 0.002), hyperphosphatemia (p < 0.001), anemia (p < 0.001), and neutrophilia (p = 0.003). Hematuria, glucosuria and pyuria (despite a negative urine culture) were more likely in seroreactive dogs (all p ≤ 0.002). Histopathology was consistent with immune-complex glomerulonephritis in 16/16 case dogs and 7/23 control dogs (p = 0.056).
This study demonstrates that Borrelia C6 seroreactivity in dogs with PLN is associated with a clinicopathologically distinct syndrome when compared with other types of PLN. Early recognition of this syndrome based on clinical findings has the potential to improve outcomes through specific aggressive and early treatment.
Associate Veterinarian - Internal Medicine
Sage Centers for Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Care
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