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Babesia conradae infection in coyote hunting dogs infected with multiple blood‐borne pathogens

Dear, Jonathan D., Owens, Sean D., Lindsay, LeAnn L., Biondo, Alex W., Chomel, Bruno B., Marcondes, Mary, Sykes, Jane E.
Journal of veterinary internal medicine 2018 v.32 no.5 pp. 1609-1617
Anaplasma, Babesia gibsoni, Bartonella, Canis latrans, Ehrlichia canis, Francisella tularensis, Greyhound, Hepatozoon, Mycoplasma haemocanis, Rickettsia, anemia, antigens, blood platelet count, blood sampling, blood serum, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, globulins, hematocrit, hunting dogs, hypoalbuminemia, leukocyte count, leukopenia, mixed infection, pathogens, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, risk factors, serology, seroprevalence, serum albumin, thrombocytopenia, ticks, tularemia, Southeastern United States
BACKGROUND: Babesia conradae is an intraerythrocytic piroplasm infecting dogs in the southern United States. Ticks have been suspected, but unproven, as vectors. We identified B. conradae and other blood‐borne pathogens in 2 kennels of sighthounds with a history of coyote fighting. OBJECTIVES: To examine clinicopathologic abnormalities associated with B. conradae infection, risk factors for infection, and the prevalence of coinfections with other blood‐borne pathogens. ANIMALS: Fifty‐five Greyhounds and Greyhound mixes METHODS: Blood samples were collected from each dog for CBC, serum biochemistry panel, conventional and real‐time PCR assays (Babesia spp., hemoplasmas, Ehrlichia canis, Bartonella spp., Anaplasma spp., and Rickettsia spp.), vector‐borne pathogen ELISA, and immunofluorescent serology and culture for Bartonella spp and Francisella tularensis sero‐agglutination test. Associations between B. conradae infection and coyote fighting, age and laboratory abnormalities were investigated. RESULTS: Twenty‐nine dogs were PCR‐positive for B. conradae. Of these, 16 were PCR‐positive for other vector‐borne organisms including Mycoplasma haemocanis, “Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum,” E. canis, and a Hepatozoon felis‐like organism. Twelve of the 20 dogs tested for seroreactivity to Bartonella spp. antigens were positive, but none were seropositive for tularemia. Infection with B. conradae was associated with a history of aggressive interactions with coyotes; lower hematocrit, leukocyte count, MCHC, platelet count and serum albumin concentration; and higher MCV, MPV, and serum globulin concentration. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: Babesia conradae infection should be considered in dogs with anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, hypoalbuminemia and hyperglobulinemia. As with B. gibsoni, aggressive interactions with other canids may play a role in B. conradae transmission.