Ocular Lymphoma: A Case Study

By Jamie N. Henningson, DVM, PhD, DACVP

A globe initially discarded post-surgically, but then retrieved, from a 12-year-old Chihauhau with a three-week history of a cloudy eye and corneal ulcer was submitted to the KSVDL. On examination of the globe, the ciliary body and adjacent choroid were expanded by sheets of monomorphic round cells (Figure 1) consistent with neoplastic lymphocytes.

Figure 1 figure 2
Figure 1. Eye, Lymphoma. Ciliary body and choroid expanded by monomorphic round cells that are consistent with neoplastic lymphocytes.

Figure 2. Positive IHC staining for CD79a, a marker for B cells, confirming B cell lymphoma.

Immunohistochemistry was performed for B and T cell markers and the neoplastic cells were positive for B cell lymphoma (Figure 2). This animal had no enlarged lymph nodes or signs of illness.

Primary ocular lymphoma in dogs is rare and is primarily part of multicentric lymphoma. In cats, lymphoma is the second most common intraocular neoplasm and is usually part of the systemic disease process. However, ocular disease is often the presenting complaint and may precede signs of systemic involvement.

Not only is neoplasia a common disease that affects eyes but so are other disease processes, such as autoimmune, trauma, and infectious causes. An autoimmune disease example is uveodermatolotical syndrome (Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada syndrome (VKH)) in dogs, which is most often bilateral; diagnosis in one eye Ocular biopsy submission can be an important diagnostic tool for your patient and client.

To submit eyes for biopsy they should be left intact and not incised. Surrounding soft tissue can be trimmed if it does not appear to be involved in the disease. If there is a lesion present in the soft tissues surrounding the eye, leave the soft tissues intact. Place they eye in 10% neutral buffered formalin immediately after enucleation. The eye should be fixed in a ratio of 10X formalin volume: 1 X specimen volume. The formalin: specimen sample should be placed in a liquid tight container, and then placed into another container such as Ziploc baggie or whirlpack to prevent leakage during shipping.

Including a clinical history explaining the course of disease and the lesions observed on ocular examination are important when submitting samples. Drawings of the lesion(s) location and/or clinical pictures are beneficial and appreciated.

If you have questions about submitting eyes, please don’t hesitate to call Dr. Henningson at 785-532-1429 or email at heningsn@vet.k-state.edu.

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