Veterinary Record 174:120 doi:10.1136/vr.102012
  • Research
  • Short communication

First report of canine leprosy in Europe: molecular and clinical traits

  1. A. Alberti, MSc, PhD
  1. Dipartimento di Medicina Veterinaria, Università degli Studi di Sassari, Via Vienna 2, Sassari 07100, Italy
  1. E-mail for correspondence: alberti{at}, carladedola{at}

Canine leproid granuloma (CLG) is a mycobacterial cutaneous disease characterised by the presence of nodular skin lesions most commonly affecting the head and the dorsal aspect of the pinna (Malik and others 1998, Conceição and others 2011, Smits and others 2012). Affected dogs appear otherwise healthy, and in the majority of cases the lesions tend to heal spontaneously over the course of weeks to months (Malik and others 1998). CLG has a wide distribution and was first reported in Africa (Zimbabwe) in 1973. Since then, all published cases of CLG have originated in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil or the USA (Malik and others 1998, Foley and others 2002, Conceição and others 2011, Smits and others 2012). To date, no case of this disease has been reported in Europe.

The mycobacterium responsible for CLG has not yet been isolated, but molecular investigations based either on 500 bp of the 16S rRNA gene (Hughes and others 2000) or on the ITS1 region (Fyfe and others 2008) identified a mycobacterial species closely related to members of the Mycobacterium simiae clade in nodular skin lesions of dogs. This paper describes the clinical features of the first reported case of CLG in Europe (to our knowledge), and the molecular investigation of the aetiological agent.

A three-year-old female German shorthaired pointer was presented to the dermatology service of the Internal Medicine Department at the University of Sassari for the evaluation of a skin nodule affecting the dorsal area of the right pinna. The skin lesion was previously treated with a topical therapy containing 1 per cent gentamycin (Gentalyn cream; Schering Plough Spa, Milan, Italy) with no signs of improvement. The dog was housed with three other dogs and lived outside all year, received regular vaccination and treatment for parasites. The owner …

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