Twenty-four dogs with a parasitologically and serologically established diagnosis of leishmaniasis were studied to investigate the atrophy of the masticatory muscles which commonly occurs in this disease, and to compare the lesions in the masticatory muscles with those in the cranial tibial muscles. The 24 animals were divided into three groups of eight, group A dogs with no muscular atrophy, group B dogs with different degrees of atrophy in the masticatory and skeletal muscles, and group C dogs with similar degrees of atrophy in the masticatory and skeletal muscles. Increased activities of creatine phosphokinase and lactate dehydrogenase were recorded in only some of the dogs in groups B and C, but there were no significant differences between the mean activities in the three groups. Electromyographic changes indicating myopathy and involving both the temporalis and cranial tibial muscles, were observed in two of the dogs in group A, seven of those in group B, and in all the dogs in group C. Muscle histopathology revealed a variable degree of muscle fibre necrosis and atrophy, mononuclear infiltrates and neutrophilic vasculitis in all the dogs except two in group A. Leishmanial amastigotes were found within macrophages and myofibres in 16 of the dogs, some in each group. IgG immune complexes were detected in muscle samples, and circulating antibodies against myofibres were detected in serum samples from all the 24 dogs.
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