02978-A: Babesia Species in Thrombocytopenic Dogs in the Upper Midwest, USA

Grant Status: Closed

Grant Amount: $14,805
Erin W. Lashnits, DVM, PhD; University of Wisconsin, Madison
October 1, 2021 - March 31, 2023

Sponsor(s): American Boxer Charitable Foundation

Research Program Area: Tick-Borne Disease Initiative
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One Health: Yes


Canine babesiosis is a severe disease caused by several Babesia species and is an important cause of low platelets (thrombocytopenia) in dogs. Since thrombocytopenia and regenerative anemia are common laboratory findings in dogs with babesiosis, it can be difficult for veterinarians to distinguish babesiosis from primary idiopathic autoimmune diseases, particularly immune mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP) and immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA). Because of this, without specific testing for Babesia infection, dogs with babesiosis can easily be misdiagnosed and treated with immunosuppressive medications or splenectomy, worsening their prognosis for recovery. The geographic distribution of Babesia in dogs and whether Babesia spp. are endemic in particular areas of the United States are therefore critical pieces of epidemiologic information for clinicians to correctly diagnose and treat thrombocytopenic dogs. The prevalence – or indeed even existence – of canine babesiosis in the upper Midwest of the United States is unknown. The increasing prevalence of Babesia infection in humans and ticks in this region, along with advances in diagnostic testing and treatment, make this an important pathogen to investigate. This straightforward observational study will investigate infection with, and exposure to, Babesia species in dogs in this understudied area of the country, allowing improved diagnosis and treatment, as well as prevention, of this potentially fatal disease.


None at this time.

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