02386-A: Surveillance of Hepatozoon americanum In Populations of the Gulf Coast Tick Vector

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $12,960
Andrea Varela-Stokes, DVM, PhD; Mississippi State University
February 1, 2018 - January 31, 2021

Sponsor(s): AKC Reunite

Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Tick-Borne Disease Initiative
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American Canine Hepatozoonosis is a debilitating tick-borne disease with poor prognosis and limited treatment options. Affected dogs usually experience fever, muscle pain, and body wasting. Some dogs may have a thickening of their long bones. While most tick-borne diseases occur after transmission of the disease agent during tick feeding, in American Canine Hepatozoonosis, dogs are infected by eating the tick vector carrying the disease agent. Hepatozoon americanum is the agent that causes American Canine Hepatozoonosis. It is a protozoan parasite carried by the tick species, Amblyomma maculatum, also known as the Gulf Coast tick. The percentage of Gulf Coast ticks carrying H. americanum is unknown. The investigators will use an optimized test to perform active surveillance on Gulf Coast ticks collected in Mississippi during the summer seasons of 2018 and 2019 when adult Gulf Coast tick stages are active. Veterinary summer research students will participate in the research each year. By involving veterinary students and obtaining active surveillance data on tick populations, the researchers will fill an important gap in our knowledge of American Canine Hepatozoonosis, and increase veterinary and public awareness of potential risk in canine patients.


Parkins, N. D., Stokes, J. V., Gavron, N. A., Frankovich, A. N., & Varela-Stokes, A. S. (2020). Scarcity of Hepatozoon americanum in Gulf Coast tick vectors and potential for cultivating the protozoan. Veterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports, 21, 100421. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.vprsr.2020.100421

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