Open Veterinary Journal

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A novel encephalopathy in a thiamine-deficient dog resembling human Wernicke’s disease with atypical MRI pattern

Floriana Gernone, Mario Ricciardi


Thiamine is a water-soluble vitamin, which participates in several vital metabolic pathways involved in energy metabolism and neurotransmitter synthesis of mammals. In companion animals thiamine deficiency is classically associated with signs of diffuse encephalopathy and lesions on brainstem nuclei and mesencephalic colliculi evident on magnetic resonance imaging. This paper describes a novel clinical presentation in a thiamine-deficient dog showing multifocal, central and peripheral nervous and  cardiovascular system alterations. Brain MRI showed bilateral caudate nuclei damage, with necrotic-malacic evolution, similar to the atypical MRI pattern found in Wernicke’s encephalopathy in humans. Detection of bilateral symmetrical lesions of the caudate nuclei in dogs should prompt consideration of a thiamine deficiency among the differential diagnoses.

Keywords: Caudate nuclei, Dog, MRI, Thiamine deficiency, Wernicke’s encephalopathy.
AJOL African Journals Online