A 10-month-old male Rhodesian Ridgeback was presented to the Clinic of Small Animal Medicine, LMU, Germany, with a 6-month history of chronic diarrhea and hematochezia. The dog lived in Germany and had never traveled abroad. Complete blood count and serum biochemistry performed by the referring veterinarian revealed neutrophilia, hyperkalemia, and hyponatremia, with a basal cortisol of 4.3 µg/dl, which excluded hypoadrenocorticism. Since antibiotic treatment had not resulted in any improvement, a 2 week course of prednisolone administration had been initiated, leading to a marked deterioration of intestinal signs and a significant weight loss of 6 kg. At the time of referral, the patient was markedly emaciated, dehydrated, hypovolemic and had a rectal temperature of 39.6 °C. Abdominal ultrasound showed a thickened and irregular colonic wall. On colonoscopy, an irregular colonic mucosa with ulcerations was observed. Histopathologic examination revealed an ulcerative granulomatous colitis, and on Periodic acid-Schiff reaction (PAS) numerous organisms consistent with spp. were identified. infection was confirmed by culture and MALDI-TOF MS. In order to test for an underlying immunodeficiency, immunoglobulin levels in serum were determined. IgM was decreased, while IgG and IgA levels were within the reference interval. Due to deterioration of general condition, grave prognosis and costs of a treatment trial, the patient was euthanized one week later, and necropsy was performed. spp. were detected on histopathologic examination in the lymphnodes, however not in the eyes or the central nervous system. Protothecosis should be considered an differential diagnosis in dogs with chronic diarrhea and ulcerative granulomatous colitis even in dogs living in Germany. Histopathologic examination of colonic biopsies with special stains such as PAS is recommended in every dog with signs of chronic large bowel disease in order to avoid missing this rare infectious disease.
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