Diagnosis and Treatment of Lawsonia intracellularis Proliferative Enteritis in a Young Japanese Macaque (Macaca fuscata)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2003
Maud Lafortune1, DMV, MSc; James X Wellehan1, DMV, MS; Elliot Jacobson1, DVM, PhD, DACZM; J. Mitchell Troutman2, DVM; Connie J. Gebhart3, PhD; Margaret S. Thompson1, MEd, DVM
1Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences and 2Pathobiology, Anatomic Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; 3Research Animal Resources, Division of Comparative Medicine, Academic Health Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA


Lawsonia intracellularis is an obligate intracellular bacterium causing proliferative enteritis in a broad range of species.1-5 A 2.5-yr-old Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata) was presented for vomiting and mild depression. Radiographs indicated metallic foreign body ingestion. A thickened ileum was found during exploratory laparotomy. Biopsies of the thickened ileum revealed severe, chronic, pyogranulomatous and lymphocytic enteritis, and presence of spindle-shaped organisms on sliver stain (Warthin Starry). Immunohistochemistry and PCR of the ileal biopsy were positive for Lawsonia intracellularis. The animal developed severe hypoproteinemia and pitting edema. It recovered 42 days after presentation with a treatment regime including azithromycin and hetastarch. Enteropathies are common in nonhuman primates and difficult to diagnose. L. intracellularis should be included in the differential list. The zoonotic potential of this bacterium should be considered.

Literature Cited

1.  Cooper, D.M. and C.J. Gebhart. 1998. Comparative aspects of proliferative enteritis . JAVMA. 212:1446–1451.

2.  Drolet, R., D. Larochelle, and C.J. Gebhart. 1996. Proliferative enteritis associated with Lawsonia intracellularis (ileal symbiont intracellularis) in white-tailed deer. J. Vet. Diag. Invest. 8:250–253.

3.  Klein, E.C., C.J. Gebhart, and G.E. Duhamel. 1999. Fatal outbreaks of proliferative enteritis caused by Lawsonia intracellularis in young colony-raised rhesus macaques. J. Med. Primat. 28:11–18.

4.  Schumacher, J., J. Schumacher, M. Rolsma, K.V. Brock, and C.J. Gebhart. 2000. Surgical and medical treatment of an Arabian filly with proliferative enteropathy caused by Lawsonia intracellularis. J. Vet. Intern. Med. 14:630– 632.

5.  Williams, N.M., L.H. Harrison, and C.J. Gebhart. 1996 . Proliferative enteropathy in foal caused by Lawsonia intracellularis-like bacterium. J. Vet. Diag. Invest. 8:254–256.


Speaker Information
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Maud Lafortune, DMV, MSc
Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, Anatomic Pathology
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL, USA

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