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Vet Parasitol. 1997 May;69(3-4):307-17.

Characterization of the subclinical phase of canine ehrlichiosis in experimentally infected beagle dogs.

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Israel Institute for Biological Research, Ness Ziona, Israel.


Beagle dogs were examined during the subclinical phase of canine ehrlichiosis under controlled conditions. Emphasis was placed on gathering data before artificial inoculation with Ehrlichia canis, and comparing these data with those of the subclinical phase of the disease. In this study all dogs were clinically healthy throughout the 6 month examination period. All subclinically infected dogs had IFA antibody titers to E. canis at a dilution varying from 1:2560 to 1:20480. The most prominent haematological finding was mild thrombocytopenia with a concomitant increase in platelet size, seen in eight of the nine dogs examined. Leukocyte counts were statistically significantly reduced in 78% of the dogs, compared with their preinfection values, with 71% of dogs having significantly reduced absolute neutrophil counts. None of the dogs were either leukopenic nor neutropenic. Six of the nine dogs had increased serum gamma-globulin concentrations. No dogs were overtly anemic, although declines in packed cell volume, haemoglobin concentration and total erythrocyte count were detected in an inconsistent manner among the dogs. It was concluded that, the most reliable parameters for judging possible subclinical ehrlichial infection in beagle dogs was mild thrombocytopenia, together with a persistently high antibody titer to E. canis. Hypergammaglobulinemia would increase the suspicion further. Based on the results presented, routine testing of dogs in E. canis endemic areas is recommended in order to identify and treat dogs in the subclinical phase of the disease.

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