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Canine Babesiosis: selected aspects of the topic

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Babesiosis is caused by a haemotropic protozoal parasite of the genus Babesia, member of the phylum Apicomplexa and transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. Canine babesiosis in Europe is generally caused by Babesia canis and Babesia gibsoni. Clinically, both species cause remittent fever, progressive anemia, hemoglobinuria, and marked splenomegaly and hepatomegaly in dogs and, in some cases, the death of infected animals. Mostly, the clinical cases of the disease are reported in spring and autumn and are associated with the seasonal activity of vectors of Babesia. Demonstration of parasites in the blood collected from a carrier animal by blood smear examination is an absolute and reliable method of diagnosis of canine babesiosis. Nonetheless, molecular methods, such as polymerase chain reaction(PCR), present a higher sensitivity and specificity than the peripheral blood smear evaluation to detect and characterize babesial infection in peripheral blood. Furthermore, they may differentiate species that cannot be morphologically distinguished by smear method. However, these methods may also present false-negative results of blood tests, if the parasites accumulate in the spleen, for instance. Therefore, mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics analyses offer new approaches to identify biomarkers for the detection of disease.

This talk is part of the Departmental Seminar Programme, Department of Veterinary Medicine series.

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