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Tongue nodules in canine leishmaniosis — a case report

Carlos Viegas12, João Requicha12, Carlos Albuquerque13, Teresa Sargo4, João Machado4, Isabel Dias12, Maria A Pires15, Lenea Campino6 and Luís Cardoso17*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Veterinary Sciences, School of Agrarian and Veterinary Sciences, University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD), Vila Real, Portugal

2 Department of Polymer Engineering, 3B’s Research Group – Biomaterials, Biodegradables and Biomimetics, University of Minho, Guimarães, Portugal

3 Centre of Genetics and Biotechnology – Institute for Biotechnology and Bioengineering, UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal

4 Veterinary Hospital, UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal

5 CECAV – Veterinary and Animal Science Centre, UTAD, Vila Real, Portugal

6 Leishmanioses Laboratory, Medical Parasitology RTU, Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Lisbon, Portugal

7 Parasite Disease Group, IBMC – Instituto de Biologia Celular e Molecular, University of Oporto, Oporto, Portugal

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Parasites & Vectors 2012, 5:120  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-5-120

Published: 15 June 2012



Canine leishmaniosis (CanL) caused by Leishmania infantum is an endemic zoonosis in southern European countries. Infected dogs can present rare or atypical forms of the disease and diagnosis can be challenging. The present report describes a case of tongue nodules in a 3-year-old neutered female Labrador Retriever dog with leishmaniosis.


A fine needle aspiration of the lingual nodules revealed amastigote forms of Leishmania inside macrophages. Differential diagnosis ruled out neoplasia, calcinosis circumscripta, solar glossitis, vasculitis, amyloidosis, eosinophilic granulomas, chemical and electrical burns, uremic glossitis and autoimmune diseases. Combined therapy with antimoniate meglumine and allopurinol for 30 days resulted in the normalization of hematological and biochemical parameters. Two months after diagnosis and the beginning of treatment, a mild inflammatory infiltrate was observed by histopathology, but an anti-Leishmania immunofluorescence antibody test (IFAT) was negative as well as a PCR on both tongue lesions and a bone marrow aspirate. Seven months after diagnosis, the dog’s general condition appeared good, there were no tongue lesions and a new IFAT was negative. Fifteen months after diagnosis this clinically favourable outcome continued.


The dog could have suffered a relapsing episode of CanL, but a new systemic or local infection cannot be excluded. Regular clinical re-evaluation should be maintained, as a future relapse can potentially occur. In conclusion, CanL should be considered in the differential diagnosis of nodular glossitis in dogs.

Canine leishmaniosis; Dog; Glossitis; Nodules; Oral cavity; Portugal; Tongue