The first evidence for vertical transmission of Babesia canis in a litter of Central Asian Shepherd dogs
More details
Hide details
Department of Parasitology, Institute of Zoology, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, Poland
Department of Pathology and Veterinary Diagnostics, Warsaw University of Life Sciences – SGGW, Warsaw, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med 2014;21(3):500–503
Introduction and objective[:
Tick-borne infections constitute an increasing health problem in dogs and may lead to death, especially in young or elderly individuals. Canine babesiosis constitutes a serious health problem in dogs worldwide. The aim of the study was to verify the probability of vertical transmission of Babesia canis between the bitch and the pups.

Material and Methods:
In Autumn 2011, cases of babesiosis were diagnosed in a litter of 6-week-old puppies of a Central Asian Shepherd dog. Immediately following the first case of infection, blood samples were collected from all the pups in the litter (n=10) and from the female. Detection of Babesia infection was performed by molecular and microscopical techniques.

The presence of B. canis DNA was detected using PCR in three pups, presenting at the time or 24–48 hours later with babesiosis symptoms, and in their asymptomatic mother. The isolates derived from the pups and the female – 520 bp 18S rRNA gene fragment – were compared and analyzed. All isolates from the pups and their mother were identical and showed 100% homology with B. canis group B (EU622793), supporting the same source of infection. Additionally, the USG of the peritoneal cavity was performed in the female, presenting evidence for splenomegaly.

On the basis of (1) the same timing of three pup cases; (2) the identical B. canis sequences derived from all positive dogs; (3) evident splenomegaly in the asymptomatic female, this provides the first evidence of the vertical transmission of this piroplasm in dogs.

Anna Bajer   
Department of Parasitology, Institute of Zoology, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw, Poland
1. Baneth G, Breitschwerdt EB, Hegarty BC, Pappalardo B, Ryan J. A survey of tick-borne bacteria and protozoa in naturally exposed dogs from Israel. Vet Parasitol. 1998; 74: 133–142.
2. Matjila PT, Leisewitz AL, Jongejan F, Penzhorn BL. Molecular detection of tick-borne protozoan and ehrlichial infections in domestic dogs in South Africa. Vet Parasitol. 2008; 155: 152–157.
3. Solano-Gallego L, Trotta M, Razia L, Furlanello T, Caldin M. Molecular survey of Ehrlichia canis and Anaplasma phagocytophilum from blood of dogs in Italy. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2006; 1078: 515–518.
4. Adaszek L, Winiarczyk S. Molecular characterization of Babesia canis canis isolates from naturally infected dogs in Poland. Vet Parasitol. 2008; 152: 235–241.
5. Welc-Falęciak R, Rodo A, Siński E, Bajer A. Babesia canis and other tick-borne infections in dogs in Central Poland. Vet Parasitol. 2009; 166: 191–198.
6. Zygner W, Gójska O, Rapacka G, Jaros D, Wedrychowicz H. Hematological changes during the course of canine babesiosis caused by large Babesia in domestic dogs in Warsaw (Poland). Vet Parasitol. 2007; 145: 146–151.
7. Bajer A, Rodo A, Welc-Falęciak R, Siński E. Asymptomatic babesiosis as a cause of splenomegaly and splenectomy in a dog. Med Wet. 2008; 64: 441–443.
8. Fukumoto S, Suzuki H, Igarashi I, Xuan X. Fatal experimental transplacental Babesia gibsoni infections in dogs. Int J Parasitol. 2005; 35: 1031–1035.
9. Simoes PB, Cardoso L, Araujo M, Yisaschar-Mekuzas Y, Baneth G. Babesiosis due to the canine Babesia microti-like small piroplasm in dogs – first report from Portugal and possible vertical transmission. Parasites and Vectors. 2011; 4: 50.
10. Zygner W, Wedrychowicz H. Occurrence of hard ticks in dogs from Warsaw area. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2006; 13: 355–359.
11. Zygner W, Jaros S, Wedrychowicz H. Prevalence of Babesia canis, Borrelia afzelii, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum infection in hard ticks removed from dogs in Warsaw (Central Poland). Vet Parasitol. 2008; 153: 139–142.
12. Bajer A, Welc-Falęciak R, Siński E. Dermacentor reticulatus tick as a vector of human and dog pathogens. Proceedings of the International Symposium ‘Arthropods- Human and Animal Parasites’, Lublin 2011. p.24.
13. Bonnet S, Jouglin M, Malandrin L, Becker C, Agoulon A, L’Hostis M, Chauvin A. Transstadial and transovarial persistence of Babesia divergens DNA in Ixodes ricinus ticks fed on infected blood in a new skin-feeding technique. Parasitology 2007; 134: 197–207.
14. Bonnet S, Jouglin M, L’Hostis M, Chauvin A. Babesia sp. EU1 from roe deer and transmission within Ixodes ricinus. Emerg Infect Dis. 2007; 13: 1208–1210.
15. Welc-Falęciak R, Bajer A, Bednarska M, Paziewska A, Siński E. Long term monitoring of Babesia microti infection in BALB/c mice, using nested PCR. Ann Agric Environ Med. 2007; 14: 287–290.
16. Tamura K, Peterson D, Peterson N, Stecher G, Nei M, Kumar S. MEGA5: Molecular Evolutionary Genetics Analysis using Maximum Likelihood, Evolutionary Distance, and Maximum Parsimony Methods. Mol Biol Evol. 2011; 28: 2731–2739.
17. Neitz WO. Classification, transmission, and biology of piroplasms of domestic animals. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1956; 64: 56–111.
18. Yeruham I, Avidar Y, Aroch I, Hadani A. Intra-uterine infection with Babesia bovis in 2-day-old calf. J Vet Med B Infect Dis Vet Public Health. 2003; 50: 60–62.
19. Allsopp MTEB, Lewis BD, Penzhorn BL. Molecular evidence for transplacental transmission of Theileria equi from carrier mares to their apparently healthy foals. Vet Parasitol. 2007; 148: 130–136.
20. Day MJ. Immune system development in the dog and cat. J Comp Pathol. 2007; 137: 10–15.