West Nile Virus detection in Ural owl

Dr Plamen Kirov

Dr Plamen Kirov

(case report)

Dr. Plamen M. Kirov, DVM,

Anamaria Manolea, A.S.P.A.D.A. Timisoara – Romania



West Nile Virus (WNV) is a single strained RNA virus from the genus Flavivirus. It was discovered for the first time in 1937 in Uganda, causing zoonotic West Nile fever in affected animals and humans. The natural host for the virus are birds, mostly corvids(crows, ravens, and blue jays) and raptors. The disease is vector-borne and distributed by mosquitoes. It is discovered that 80% of the cases are asymptomatic, 20% become symptomatic, and mortality in birds could reach between 20 and 60%. It is agreed that the disease is a considerable factor in corvids population reduction. The mosquitoes transmit the virus by feeding infected blood and then transiting it to uninfected ones. Raptors can get infected by consuming infected chicks or birds. Between humans, the virus can be transmitted by blood or organ transfer, vertically, but not via direct contact.

Clinical signs can vary widely from non to death, with a high dependency on the species affected. Of the mammals only humans and horses show clinical signs – WNV was detected in many domestic and wild mammals, but no cases of the disease were registered. Birds with WNV demonstrate neurological signs – tremors, weakness, loss of coordination, head tilt, lethargy, blindness, and characteristic position of the legs at death.333

Balkan countries by having long periods of hot weather and the presence of a lot of water sources (rivers, lakes, marshes, etc.) are the perfect environments for mosquitoes from Aedes(incl. Tiger mosquito) and Calex spp.


Clinical case

An adult Ural owl (Strix uralensis) was found by people in a passing car on rural road in Lugoj area (Timis county). The bird was in lethargic state, with difficult breathing and incoordination of movements of legs and wings.

Physical examination

During the physical examination no feather or tegument abnormalities or signs of trauma were found. Body temperature was elevated to +42oC. The bird was lethargic with difficulties to walk. The appetite appeared to be normal. Clinical diagnostic tests From the bird were taken a venous blood sample from the brachial vein, fecal, and nasopharyngeal probes. Using a panel of tests, bacterial and parasitic diseases were excluded. Since cases of WNV are detected annually in Romania and neighboring countries (Serbia and Hungary), the virological panel included West Nile Virus testing. The results obtained using epitome-binding ELISA, with a sensitivity rate of 98% for WNV antigen, are shown in Table 1.

Table 1

Table 1

From the obtained results we concluded that the bird is in acute state of West Nile fewer. After consulting with the local veterinary authority, the bird was kept in enclosed environment and treated with Meloxicam per os. We did a second test after a week and another one week later. The third test went negative by showing an absence of viral antigen in the three samples – nasopharyngeal, fecal, and blood. Besides the negative results and complete recovery of the bird, it was transferred to a sanctuary where will remain for a few months and eventually released back into nature in 2023

Idiopathic Renal Hematuria in a mongrel dog

(case report)


PLAMENDr. Plamen M. Kirov, DVM, MVSc, MSc

Timisoara -Romania, and Sofia-Bulgaria




Hematuria describes a condition in which is observed presence of blood in the urine. It could be a result of diseases of the urinary tract – kidney, ureter, urinary bladder, urethra; or by diseases of the genital tract – prostate, penis, prepuce, uterus, vagina, vestibule. It can be classified as: macroscopic (visible to the naked eye), or microscopic (increased number of RBC in the urine, observed during microscopic examination). In general, hematuria can be a result of multiple reasons, as follows [1]:


  • Urinary tract origin
    • Trauma
    • Urolithiasis
    • Neoplasia
    • Inflammations (UTI, etc.)
    • Parasites (Dioctophyma renale)
    • Coagulopathy (Warfarin intoxications, etc.)
    • Renal infarction
    • Renal pelvic hematoma
    • Vascular malformations
    • Kidney polycystic disease


  • Genital tract origin
    • Trauma, Neoplastic or Inflammatory diseases of the genital tract
    • Estrus
    • Subinvolution of placental sites



For Idiopathic Renal Hematuria, we speak when the origin of RBC in the urine cannot be associated with any of the above-enumerated reasons and is of a renal origin. It is a very rare condition, which occurs in middle and big-sized young dogs (younger than 5 years of age), occasionally has been observed in older dogs and cats. Microscopic IRH is found by incidence during urine microscopic exams when macroscopic one is observed by the owners and described as unusual darker coloration of the urine. The condition is mostly unilateral and can be periodic – with a period of no bleeding. Since there is a release of RBC into the urine, anemia can be present in ranges from none to severe. Further, we will take a look and discuss the available treatment options.



Clinical case


The dog was brought to me by his owner, who observed “Cola-like” coloration of the urine in the last 2-3 days. According to the owner’s description, there are no changes of the dog’s behavior and, according to him, the micturition is normal and does not cause discomfort.


The patient:

  • 3-year-old male mongrel dog
  • 25 kg BW, normal body score
  • Neutered when he was 8 months of age
  • Vaccinations up to date and according to the protocol
  • Living indoors
  • No data for traumas
  • No medications or treatments in the last 6 months


Physical examination

During the physical examination, no abnormalities were observed, body temperature, heart and respiratory rate, and blood pressure were in the normal ranges. No any tegument abnormalities or signs of traumas. Dog temperament was relaxed and friendly.


Clinical diagnostic tests

The CBC was normal, with an RBC count near the left border reference value. Tests for Babesiosis and Lyme disease were negative. A sterile probe of urine was collected by US-guided cystocentesis and examined. Urine-specific gravity was slightly elevated, presence of erythrocyte was confirmed by microscopic examination, microbiological culture was negative. Pigmenturia was excluded after centrifugation of the urine sample, which resulted in a clear separation between RBC (collected at the bottom of the test tube) and urine (supernatant).

The performed x-ray did not reveal any abnormalities (uroliths, tumors). The ultrasound examination did not result in any abnormalities in the urogenital tract – renal parenchyma was with normal structure.

Idiopathic Renal Hematuria was diagnosed by exclusion as a result of performed test procedures and obtained results.

Additional information about the diagnostic approaches for hematuria in dogs and cats can be found in [2]







Treatment options

For treating Idiopathic Renal Hematuria we have few options available, we could differentiate as:


  • Invasive. Surgical cauterization of both ureters before the urinary bladder, and observing which kidney is the bleeding one, sclerotization of the kidney with povidone-iodine and silver nitrate [3][4] [5]. This method can be used and for bilateral hematuria. For cases with unilateral bleeding leading to severe anemia, ureteronephrectomy is recommended [1]


Since the dog doesn’t present anemia and invasive methods are more complex for performance and maintenance, I have directed my decision towards a non-invasive treatment option.


  • Non-invasive. It was described that IRH results from elevated blood pressure inside the glomerular arterioles leading to their higher permeability for RBC. This was observed by multiple studies and reports and the effect of ACE2 inhibitors, especially Benazepril, over the arterioles in the renal glomerulus was demonstrated [6] [7] [8]. In addition, during my studies in FMV-Timisoara, I had the opportunity to observe the treatment of a hunting dog with IRH, using Benazepril with good results (Dr. Doru Morar, FMV-Timisoara).


The dog was treated with Benazepril in dose 0.40mg/kg per os every 24h. In the following days was observed visible reduction of the hematuria – by the owner’s account, urine coloration became normal. Repeated urinalysis revealed the persistent microscopic presence of RBC with a tendency of reduction during the time. Blood pressure was normal and without indications for hypotension during treatment.




Dogs diagnosed with IRH with absent to mild anemia can profit from treatment plan with ACE2 inhibitors – surgical methods are not widely available, are expensive, require hospitalization of the animals, and nephrectomy deteriorates the quality of life for young animals (in cases the IRH becomes bilateral this can lead to a negative outcome for the patient).