Unusual presentation of alveolar echinococcosis as prostatic and paraprostatic cysts in a dog
1 Division of Radiation Oncology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
2 Division of Diagnostic Imaging, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
3 Institute of Veterinary Pathology, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
4 Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
5 Institute for Parasitology, Vetsuisse Faculty Zurich, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:159 doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-159Published: 12 August 2013
Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) is caused by the larval stage (metacestode) of Echinococcus multilocularis. The domestic dog can act as a definitive host and harbor adult cestodes in its small intestine or become an aberrant intermediate host carrying larval stages that may cause severe lesions in the liver, lungs and other organs with clinical signs similar to AE in humans.
A case of canine AE, affecting the liver and prostate with development of multilocular hydatid paraprostatic cysts and possible lung involvement is described in an 8–year-old neutered male Labrador retriever dog.
The dog presented with progressive weight loss, acute constipation, stranguria and a suspected soft tissue mass in the sublumbar region. Further evaluation included computed tomography of the thorax and abdomen, which revealed cystic changes in the prostate, a paraprostatic cyst, as well as lesions in the liver and lungs. Cytological examination of fine-needle aspirates of the liver, prostate and paraprostatic cyst revealed parasitic hyaline membranes typical of an Echinococcus infection and the presence of E. multilocularis-DNA was confirmed by PCR.
The dog was treated with albendazole and debulking surgery was considered in case there was a good response to antiparasitic treatment. Constipation and stranguria resolved completely. Six months after the definitive diagnosis, the dog was euthanized due to treatment-resistant ascites and acute anorexia and lethargy.
To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first publication of an E. multilocularis infection in a dog causing prostatic and paraprostatic cysts. Although rare, E. multilocularis infection should be considered as an extended differential diagnosis in dogs presenting with prostatic and paraprostatic disease, especially in areas where E. multilocularis is endemic.