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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2002 Jan 15;220(2):185-9.

Clinical and hematologic effects of experimental infection of dogs with recently identified Babesia gibsoni-like isolates from Oklahoma.

Author information

1
Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater 74078, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To characterize clinical and hematologic responses in dogs following experimental inoculation with Babesia gibsoni-like isolates from infected dogs in Oklahoma.

DESIGN:

Prospective study.

ANIMALS:

6 mixed-breed dogs.

PROCEDURE:

2 dogs were inoculated with organisms from a naturally infected dog, and 3 were inoculated with organisms from a second naturally infected dog (1 of these 3 dogs was splenectomized 1 week prior to inoculation). One dog was not inoculated. Complete blood counts were performed weekly.

RESULTS:

In the 5 dogs inoculated with organisms, parasites were initially detected 1 to 5 weeks after inoculation, and severity of parasitemia peaked with 1.9 to 6.0% of RBC infected by 4 to 6 weeks after inoculation. Parasitemia was easily detectable (> 0.1% of RBC infected) for 3 to 4 weeks. Clinical abnormalities included lethargy, fever, and pale mucous membranes but were mild to nearly inapparent in 2 dogs. All dogs developed regenerative anemia and marked thrombocytopenia. Thrombocytopenia developed before and lasted longer than the parasitemia. Profound but transient neutropenia was detected in some dogs. The splenectomized dog developed more severe parasitemia and anemia and more pronounced clinical abnormalities. Three dogs with intact spleens recovered without treatment.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE:

Results suggest that 2 or more genotypically distinct, but morphologically identical, small Babesia parasites can infect dogs in the United States. Compared with infection with small Babesia parasites from California, infection with these isolates resulted in less severe parasitemia and clinical abnormalities. Parasitemia was transient, indicating that identification of organisms in blood smears may be difficult in some dogs.

PMID:
12126127
DOI:
10.2460/javma.2002.220.185
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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