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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2003 Apr 1;222(7):959-63, 952.

Transfusion-associated Babesia gibsoni infection in a dog.

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  • 1Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.


A 2.5-year-old spayed female German Shepherd Dog was referred for evaluation of progressive anemia, lethargy, and weight loss. Seventeen days earlier, the dog had received a whole blood transfusion to manage hemorrhage after ovariohysterectomy. Mild fever, splenomegaly, and thrombocytopenia were also identified. Von Willebrand disease and Babesia gibsoni infection were diagnosed. Because of the serologic cross-reactivity of B gibsoni and B canis in the immunofluorescent antibody assay for IgG antibodies against these organisms, polymerase chain reaction amplification of parasite DNA was required to identify the infecting Babesia sp. The source of the B gibsoni infection was traced to an apparently healthy American Pit Bull Terrier blood donor. Despite resolution of clinical signs in the dog of this report, a series of antiparasitic treatments failed to eliminate the B gibsoni infection. Screening of potential blood donor dogs for Babesia spp is becoming increasingly important in the United States.

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