CASE REPORT: Disseminated nocardiosis caused by Nocardia abscessus in a dog

Amy L. MacNeill, James C. Steeil, Olivier Dossin, Patricia S. Hoien-Dalen, Carol W. Maddox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A 4-year-old female spayed Bichon Frise dog that had been receiving cyclosporine A per os 3 times per week for 2 months to control allergic dermatitis developed lethargy, anorexia, fever, and multiple firm subcutaneous masses. Pyogranulomatous inflammation with branching nonseptate filamentous organisms approximately 2 μm in diameter, presumptively fungal organisms, was diagnosed by cytologic evaluation of fine-needle aspirates from several masses. A partially acid-fast actinomycete was cultured from 2 of the masses. The organism was identified as Nocardia abscessus (formerly Nocardia asteroides type 1) based on 16S ribosomal DNA sequencing of samples extracted from cultures and unstained cytologic smears. Immunosuppression caused by long-term administration of cyclosporine A likely predisposed the dog to disseminated infection. To our knowledge, this is the first report of N. abscessus infection in a dog. This case demonstrates that N. abscessus may be mistaken for a fungal organism based on its cytologic appearance and underscores the importance of using molecular techniques for the diagnosis of suspected fungal diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-385
Number of pages5
JournalVeterinary Clinical Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • 16S ribosomal DNA
  • Actinomycetes
  • Filamentous bacteria
  • Pyogranulomatous
  • Systemic infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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