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Occurrence of different strains of Babesia canis in dogs in eastern Poland

Łyp, Paweł, Bartnicki, Michał, Staniec, Marta, Winiarczyk, Stanisław, Adaszek, Łukasz
Journal of Veterinary Research 2016 v.60 no.4 pp. 423-427
Babesia canis, Protozoa, babesiosis, disease course, dogs, genes, genetic analysis, genotype, geographical distribution, parasites, polymerase chain reaction, ribosomal RNA, Poland
Introduction: The aim of this study was to carry out a genetic analysis of Babesia canis isolates detected in dogs in eastern Poland and to study the correlation of the protozoa variant with a specific geographical region. Material and Methods: PCR was used to identify strains of B. canis from naturally infected animals (240 dogs from four provinces: Mazowieckie, Lublin, Podlasie, and Podkarpacie) by amplifying and sequencing a fragment of the 18S rRNA gene. Results: Sequencing the PCR products led to the identification of four variants of B. canis. Two previously described protozoa variants (18S rRNA-A and 18S rRNA-B) were observed in all provinces. Additionally, in the Mazowieckie and Lublin provinces a B. canis variant which contributed to the development of acute or atypical babesiosis was observed. The fourth variant of B. canis was detected only in dogs from the Lublin province, and the course of the disease was subclinical in all dogs infected with this variant. Conclusion: These results indicate the appearance of a new fourth B. canis genotype in Poland and confirm that it is still necessary to study the relationships between the genetic structure of protozoa, geographical distribution of the parasites, and clinical course of the disease.