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  • 1 Szent István University Department of Pathology and Forensic Veterinary Medicine István u. 2 H-1078 Budapest Hungary
  • 2 Szent István University Department and Clinic of Internal Medicine István u. 2 H-1078 Budapest Hungary
  • 3 Szent István University Department of Parasitology and Zoology, Faculty of Veterinary Science István u. 2 H-1078 Budapest Hungary
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Here we report a case of canine babesiosis with unusual morphology of the causative agent. A male, seven-week-old Labrador retriever puppy, exhibiting severe anaemia and haemoglobinuria, was presented at the Clinic of Internal Medicine in February 2011. The puppy was euthanised. The most relevant pathological changes were icterus, severe splenomegaly, generalised lymphadenopathy and haemoglobin nephrosis. Samples were collected from various organs for histology within one hour post mortem. Impression smears were also prepared from the spleen after overnight storage at 4 °C. Tissue sections and smears showed the presence of multiple, coccoid intraerythrocytic bodies that measured 1–2 μm and resembled small babesiae. No large piroplasms were seen. DNA was extracted from the spleen, and a conventional PCR was performed for the amplification of a 450-bp region of the 18S rRNA gene of piroplasms. The causative agent was identified as Babesia canis canis, with 99% sequence identity to other European isolates. Sequence identity to B. gibsoni was only 91%. This is the first account to verify that the morphology of the large canine piroplasm, B. canis, can be uniformly small babesia-like post mortem or following the storage of tissue samples.

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