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  • 1 Department and Clinic of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University H-1400 Budapest, P.O. Box 2, Hungary
  • 2 Department and Clinic of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University H-1400 Budapest, P.O. Box 2, Hungary
  • 3 Department and Clinic of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University H-1400 Budapest, P.O. Box 2, Hungary
  • 4 Department of Biomathematics and Informatics, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Szent István University H-1400 Budapest, P.O. Box 2, Hungary
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Clinical observations of Babesia canis infection in 63 dogs during a 1-year period are summarised, demonstrating the pathogenicity of the Babesia strain endemic in Hungary. Most patients had babesiosis in the spring and autumn, correlating with the seasonal activity of ticks. Male animals appeared in higher numbers, probably due to an overrepresentation of outdoor dogs. Uncomplicated babesiosis was diagnosed in 32 cases. The disease affected dogs of any age in this study. Symptoms were similar to those published from other parts of the world: lethargy, fever, splenomegaly, pallor, icterus, haemoglobinuria and presence of ticks were the most common observations. Thrombocytopenia, lymphopenia and neutropenia were frequent haemogram changes. Imidocarb appeared to be highly effective in eliminating the Babesia infection. Thirty-one animals demonstrated babesiosis with complications. Most Rottweilers (7/9) developed complicated disease. Old age was a risk factor for multiple complications. Multiple organ manifestations had poor prognosis. Hepatopathy (44%), pancreatitis (33%), acute renal failure (ARF; 31%) and disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC; 24%) were frequent complications, while immune-mediated haemolytic anaemia (IMHA; 10%), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS; 6%) and cerebral babesiosis (3%) were rarely observed. There was a significant difference between the mean age of dogs having uncomplicated disease, babesiosis with a single complication and babesiosis with multiple complications (3.4, 4.8 and 8.6 years, respectively, p < 0.001). The recovery rate (78, 68 and 25%, respectively, p = 0.005) and mortality rate (3, 21 and 67%, respectively, p < 0.001) also tended to differ significantly in these groups. Systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) and DIC are two possible pathways leading to multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS) in babesiosis. DIC was found to predict MODS more sensitively in this study than SIRS: there were 6 animals developing MODS out of 11 identified with DIC, while only 5 dogs developed MODS out of 22 having SIRS.

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