COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Detection and molecular characterization of Mycobacterium celatum as a cause of splenitis in a domestic ferret (Mustela putorius furo)

E Piseddu, M Trotta, E Tortoli, M Avanzi, S Tasca, L Solano-Gallego
Journal of Comparative Pathology 2011, 144 (2-3): 214-8
20880545
Mycobacterium celatum is a slow growing non-tuberculous mycobacterium described mainly as occurring in human patients. Only two cases of infection with this pathogen have been reported previously in animals. A 5-year-old, neutered male ferret was presented with progressive weight loss and muscle atrophy. Pale mucous membranes, slight alopecia of the tail and splenomegaly, confirmed by abdominal ultrasound, were observed. Fine-needle aspirations of the spleen revealed extramedullary haematopoiesis and marked macrophage-dominated inflammation associated with mycobacterial infection. Ziehl-Neelsen staining demonstrated sporadic acid-fast bacilli within macrophages. These organisms were identified as M. celatum by microbiological and molecular methods. Phylogenetic analysis based on the 16S rDNA gene compared this isolate with previously reported strains and demonstrated close relatedness to the human strains of M. celatum types 1 and 3. The ferret was treated with enrofloxacin, rifampicin and azithromycin, resulting in clinical improvement. After 40 days of treatment, the spleen was re-evaluated. Cytological evaluation revealed only extramedullary haematopoiesis without evidence of infection. Discontinuation of therapy was followed by rapid deterioration and death.

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