Faecal Occult Blood Test

Case of the Month (Emma Scurrell January 2013)

Cutaneous toxoplasmosis in a cat 

Fine needle aspirates were taken from a single, 3 x 1.5cm cutaneous mass on the neck (in the region of the thyroid gland) of a 14-year-old, female neutered DSH. The cat had a history of chronic weight loss. FeLV/FIV status was negative.

Fig 1.  Smears contained moderate numbers of extracellular and intracellular elliptical protozoal tachyzoites. Clusters of tachyzoites are identified extracellularly (red circle) and are also present within the cytoplasm of macrophages (red arrow).




This cell harvest is indicative of a protozoal infection. The two main differentials for the organism include Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum with the former being more likely given the affected species and similarities to previously reported cases of cutaneous toxoplasmosis in cats. Differentiation between Toxoplasma sp and Neospora sp typically requires immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy or PCR, with PCR probably being the most useful.

Cutaneous toxoplasmosis in cats is uncommon but it is typically a manifestation of systemic infection. Cutaneous lesions are usually nodular with or without ulceration, may be solitary or multiple and usually reflect dermatitis and/or necrotising panniculitis and vasculitis. Systemic toxoplasmosis most commonly results in a necrotising interstitial pneumonia, hepatitis, lymphadenitis and myocarditis. Affected cats often present with respiratory distress due to the interstitial pneumonia and pleural effusion but this may be absent in cats admitted for preliminary cutaneous lesions. Underlying disease may be associated with toxoplasmosis and typical examples include immunosuppression by glucocorticoids, FIP, FIV and FeLV. An underlying cause has currently not been identified in this cat.

Previous Monthly Cases

Hypertensive Retinopathy January 2010
FIP in a cat - uncommon presentation February 2010
Phaeohyphomycosis    March 2010 
Scleral Rupture April 2010
Canine and feline epulides May 2010
Erythema multiforme in a labrador retreiver June 2010
Keloidal fibrosarcoma in a labrador retreiver July 2010
Cutaneous epitheliotropic lymphoma  August 2010 
Benign cutaneous histiocytoma  September 2010 
Iridociliary adenoma October 2010
Proliferative thrombovascular necrosis of the pinnae November 2010
Signet-ring cell carcinoma in the stomach of a dog December 2010
Cutaneous infiltrative lipoma in a labrador January 2011

Tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma February 2011
Canine orbital meningioma March 2011
"Lung-digit" syndrome in a cat April 2011
Hepatic amyloidosis in a cat May 2011
Haemophagocytic histiocytic sarcoma June 2011
Alternaria spp. infection in an immunocompromised dog July 2011
Ocular manifestation of lymphoma in a cat  August 2011
Kerion dermatophytosis in a Cocker spaniel September 2011
Subcuticular coenurus in a rabbit  October 2011
Optic nerve glioma in a dog November 2011
Malignant transformation of a viral papilloma in a dog  December 2011
Uveodermatological syndrome in an Akita
January 2012
Cutaneous angiostomatosis in a dog  February 2012
Transitional cell carcinoma in a dog  March 2012
Corneal inclusion cysts in a dog   April 2012
Extraskeletal osteosarcoma in a dog  May 2012
Subungual melanoma in a dog  June 2012
Retrobulbar grass seed in a dog   July 2012
Lungworm infection associated with hypercalcaemia in a dog  August 2012
Conjunctival melanoma in a dog  September 2012
Pneumocystis infection in a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel  October 2012
Fungal keratitis and secondary endophthalmitis in a horse November 2012
Myeloid leukaemia with lymph node invasion in a dog    December 2012

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Faecal Occult Blood Test