Free Access
Vet. Res.
Volume 35, Number 3, May-June 2004
Page(s) 363 - 368
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2004) 363-368
Vet. Res. 35 (2004) 363-368
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2004018

Canine babesiosis in Slovenia: Molecular evidence of Babesia canis canis and Babesia canis vogeli

Darja Duha, Natasa Tozonb, Miroslav Petroveca, Katja Straseka and Tatjana Avsic-Zupanca

a  Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical Faculty, Zaloska 4, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
b  Small Animal Clinic, Veterinary Faculty, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

(Received 24 October 2003; accepted 12 February 2004)

Abstract - Canine babesiosis, caused by intraerythrocytic Babesia spp., is a tick-borne disease of worldwide importance. No information on canine babesiosis has been documented in Slovenia. Therefore, 238 dogs admitted to the Small animal clinic in Ljubljana from the years 2000 to 2002 were tested for the presence of babesial parasites in the blood. Based on clinical, microscopic and molecular investigations, 14 dogs (5.9%) were determined as being infected with babesiae. Clinical signs relating to acute haemolysis, fever, anorexia, depression and haematological abnormalities such as anaemia and thrombocytopenia were noticed in most of the 14 infected dogs. The morphology of the parasites was indicative of Babesia canis infection. Two subspecies were detected, namely B. canis canis (11 dogs, 4.6%) and B. canis vogeli (3 dogs, 1.3%) using PCR and subsequent sequence analysis of portions of nns rRNA gene. In addition, based on nucleotide sequence analysis, the 11 isolates of B. c. canis could be subdivided into three groups, whereas the three B. c. vogeli isolates were genetically identical. The results of this study demonstrate the presence of canine babesiosis due to B. c. canis and B. c. vogeli in Slovenia.

Key words: B. canis canis / B. canis vogeli / molecular analysis / Slovenia

Corresponding author: Tatjana Avsic-Zupanc

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2004