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Open AccessArticle

Diagnosing Microcystin Intoxication of Canines: Clinicopathological Indications, Pathological Characteristics, and Analytical Detection in Postmortem and Antemortem Samples

1
GreenWater Laboratories, Palatka, FL 32177, USA
2
Animal Care Cancer Clinic, Stuart, FL 34994, USA
3
Pet Emergency of Martin County, Stuart, FL 34994, USA
4
Fishhead Labs LLC, Stuart, FL 34997, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2019, 11(8), 456; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11080456
Received: 13 June 2019 / Revised: 28 July 2019 / Accepted: 1 August 2019 / Published: 3 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Freshwater Algal Toxins: Monitoring and Toxicity Profile)
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Abstract

In the summer of 2018, six dogs exposed to a harmful algal bloom (HAB) of Microcystis in Martin County Florida (USA) developed clinicopathological signs of microcystin (MC) intoxication (i.e., acute vomiting, diarrhea, severe thrombocytopenia, elevated alanine aminotransferase, hemorrhage). Successful supportive veterinary care was provided and led to survival of all but one patient. Confirmation of MC intoxication was made through interpretation of clinicopathological abnormalities, pathological examination of tissues, microscopy (vomitus), and analytical MC testing of antemortem/postmortem samples (vomitus, blood, urine, bile, liver, kidney, hair). Gross and microscopic examination of the deceased patient confirmed massive hepatic necrosis, mild multifocal renal tubular necrosis, and hemorrhage within multiple organ systems. Microscopy of a vomitus sample confirmed the presence of Microcystis. Three analytical MC testing approaches were used, including the MMPB (2-methyl-3-methoxy-4-phenylbutyric acid) technique, targeted congener analysis (e.g., liquid chromatography tandem-mass spectrometry of MC-LR), and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Total Adda MCs (as MMPB) were confirmed in the liver, bile, kidney, urine, and blood of the deceased dog. Urinalysis (MMPB) of one surviving dog showed a high level of MCs (32,000 ng mL−1) 1-day post exposure, with MCs detectable >2 months post exposure. Furthermore, hair from a surviving dog was positive for MMPB, illustrating another testable route of MC elimination in canines. The described cases represent the first use of urine as an antemortem, non-invasive specimen to diagnose microcystin toxicosis. Antemortem diagnostic testing to confirm MC intoxication cases, whether acute or chronic, is crucial for providing optimal supportive care and mitigating MC exposure. View Full-Text
Keywords: HAB; microcystin; Adda; canine intoxication; MMPB; urinalysis; hair; ELISA; LC-MS/MS HAB; microcystin; Adda; canine intoxication; MMPB; urinalysis; hair; ELISA; LC-MS/MS
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Foss, A.J.; Aubel, M.T.; Gallagher, B.; Mettee, N.; Miller, A.; Fogelson, S.B. Diagnosing Microcystin Intoxication of Canines: Clinicopathological Indications, Pathological Characteristics, and Analytical Detection in Postmortem and Antemortem Samples. Toxins 2019, 11, 456.

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