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Clinical and pathological findings of Babesia infection in dogs

Irwin, P.J. and Hutchinson, G.W. (1991) Clinical and pathological findings of Babesia infection in dogs. Australian Veterinary Journal, 68 (6). pp. 204-209.

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The clinical and pathological findings of Babesia infection in 32 dogs in northern Australia are presented. Eleven different breed types were represented from 6 localities in north Queensland and one locality in northern Western Australia. Twenty three (72%) were males. Babesia-infected dogs were grouped by the degree of haematological disturbance and clinical severity: Acute babesiosis (25/32), all pups with severe haemolytic anaemia; subclinical carriers (5/32) with non-specific malaise, characterised haematologically by a normal erythrogram but marked leucopenia; chronic anaemia, observed in 2 adult dogs. Pups were azotaemic (serum urea >6.6 mmol/l) and had elevated serum bilirubin levels (20.8 to 48.5 mmol/l). Total serum protein was usually within the normal range. Pups that died were also hypoglycaemic and severely hyperkalaemic (K+>10 mmol/l). Low parasitaemias in routine blood smears complicated diagnosis but smears made from ear or toe capillaries, or after haematocrit concentration, greatly enhanced finding parasitised cells. At necropsy, pallor and jaundice were the most consistent observations. Haemoglobinuric nephrosis, an active reticulo-endothelial system and capillaries packed with large numbers of infected erythrocytes were the main histopathological findings. A combination of imidocarb dipropionate at 5 mg/kg body weight, given intramuscularly, with fluid therapy and blood transfusion was the most successful treatment.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary Studies
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
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