Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Rabies-like neuronal inclusions in a dog with meningoencephalomyelitis and neuritis of unknown origin
  1. Ian Keith Hawkins1,
  2. Daniel R Rissi2,
  3. Anibal G Armién3,
  4. Rebecca Penrose Wilkes1,4 and
  5. Eman Anis1,5
  1. 1Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Tifton, Georgia, USA
  2. 2Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Department of Pathology, University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, Athens, Georgia, USA
  3. 3Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA
  4. 4Department of Comparative Pathobiology, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
  5. 5Department of Virology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sadat City, Sadat City, Egypt
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ian Keith Hawkins; ihawkins{at}


A four-year-old intact female pointer dog from a hunting plantation in South Georgia, USA, developed acute neurological signs. The referring veterinarian suspected rabies or pseudorabies; the dog was euthanased and submitted to the Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory for necropsy. No gross anatomical changes were present. Portions of brain were submitted for rabies virus fluorescent antibody test with a negative result. Histopathology revealed a marked lymphoplasmacytic meningoencephalitis with numerous intracytoplasmic eosinophilic inclusions within neurons, still raising concerns for rabies meningoencephalitis. Rabies immunohistochemistry was then performed on the brain, yielding a negative result. Brain samples were also negative for canine distemper virus and herpesvirus (pan-herpesvirus primers) PCR. Electron microscopy did not reveal viral particles within the inclusions. Similar intraneuronal pseudoinclusions have been previously reported in non-rabid dogs and cats. Such inclusions are a diagnostic challenge, especially in animals with central neurological signs and/or meningoencephalitis.

  • rabies
  • meningoencephalitis
  • pseudoinclusions
View Full Text

Statistics from


  • Contributors All authors provided substantial contribution to the design, acquisition and analysis of data used in the manuscript, drafted or critically revised the manuscript and gave final approval of the submitted manuscript. IKH coordinated the case, performed the gross necropsy, analysed and interpreted the histopathology and drafted the manuscript. DRR reviewed the histopathology, analysed and interpreted the immunohistochemistry and critically revised the manuscript. AGA performed, analysed and interpreted the electron microscopy of the brain samples and critically revised the manuscript. Both RPW and EA performed, analysed and interpreted the molecular diagnostics on the tissue samples and critically revised the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data is available upon request.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.