Persistent Babesiosis in Dogs

Pathogens, Theo Schetters, published “Mechanisms Involved in the Persistence of Babesia canis Infection in Dogs” on June 29, 2019. The researcher used controlled experimental infection with B. canis to observe events of infection and the eventual development of signs and symptoms of this parasitic disease in dogs. Very few parasites are detected in the blood of dogs infected with Babesia canis, even when canines present with severe clinical manifestation of disease.

The results of the study showed that B. canis-infected red blood cells accumulate in masses in the minute blood vessels, including capillaries, within body tissues of infected dogs.  This accumulation was shown to cause dilation of  these small vessels leading to variable clinical manifestations of disease, including changes in blood pressure.

The author states that vaccination against soluble parasite antigens (SPA) may potentially limit the rapid reproduction of the parasite which would result in less SPA being produced. Immunity would therefore be anti-parasite and not anti-disease, as hypothesized in previous studies.