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Flashcards in Leishmania and babesia Deck (16):

In which cells are Babesia spp. found in?



Draw and label a babesia parasite in a host red blood cell.

Paired merozoites seen here (B. divergens)

Containing nucleus and apical complex


Outline the Babesia lifecycle.

  1. Tick has blood meal and ingests infected RBC 
  2. ++Multiplication and sexual repro in the tick, protozoa is disseminated in tick tissue and moves to ovaries.
  3. Once tick feeds protozoa in the salivary glands sporulate.
  4. Sporozoites are injected into the hosts.
  5. Sporozoites invade RBCs and develop into merozoites ( multiply by binary fission.


Which tick species are associated with babesiosis transmission in EU?

Which species of babesia is involved?

Dermatocentor reticulatus

Rhipicephalus sanguineus

B. canis


Name two species of Babesia which are considered large and small, what are their general sizes?

Small - divergens, bovis - 1-2um

Large - bigemina, major, canis - 4-5um


Describe risk factors which can predispose dogs to canine babesiosis infection.

  • Tick infestation or exposure (transmission time from tick to the host is unknown).
  • Travelled in the EU
  • Recent dog bite (B gibsoni). 
  • Blood transfusion from infected donor. 
  • Splenectomy. 
  • Immunosuppression. 
  • Transplacental transmission


How does Babesia cause babesiosis disease in the dog?

By invading RBCs the protozoa causes haeomlytic anaemia via:

  • immune-mediated (intra and extra vascular)
  • direct parasitic injury
  • oxidative stress 


Describe clinical signs whichmay be associated with canine babesiosis.

  • Lethargy.
  • Pale mucous membranes.
  • Splenomegaly.
  • Waxing and waning pyrexia.
  • Bounding pulses.
  • Lymphadenopathy.
  • Generalized weakness.
  • Jaundice.
  • Vomiting (more commonly reported with B conradae infection).


Outline diagnostic procedures which are used in canine babesiosis.

How are infecitons treated?

  • Light microscopy 
    • enhanced capillary blood
    • intracellular parasites are identified 
  • iFAT - doesn't distinguish between species
  • PCR

Imidocarb Tx.


Which intermediate host is responsible for transmitting leishmaniasis to dogs?

How can transmission risk be decreased?

Phlebotomus sandflies

Use deltamethrin impregnated collars

House dogs at dusk and dawn (when flies are at their greatest)


Why can leishmaniasis infection generally not occur in the UK?


  • Too cold for sandflies to overwinter
  • Too cold for parasitic development


Outline the pathogenesis of Leishmaniasis infection in dogs.

Immune response:

  • Cell mediated immune response (TH1) - infection controlled 
  • Humoral immune response (TH2) - antibodies are ineffective against infection
    • Multisystemic granulomatous inflammation and immune-complex mediated lesions (glomerulus, vasculitis)


Describe clinical signs associated with Leishmaniasis.

General: Lethargy, Change in appetite, Wt loss (+/- cachexia and muscle atrophy), Generalized lymphadenomegaly, Splenomegaly, PUPD, V/D

Cutaneous: Nonpruritic exfoliative dermatitis ± alopecia, Erosive-ulcerative dermatitis mostly at mucocutaneous junctions (ears, nose,eyes), Nodular or papular dermatitis, Pustular dermatitis, Onychogryphosis

Ocular: Keratoconjunctivitis (common or sicca), Blepharitis, Anterior uveitis/endophthalmitis

Other: Lameness, Epistaxis, Mucosal lesions (oral, genital), Myositis and polymyositis, atrophic masticatory myositis, Cutaneous and systemic vasculitis


Outline the lifecycle of Leishmania.


Dx. Leismania

  • Clinical signs and history
  • iFAT
  • ELISA - serology correlates with severity of disease
  • Amastigotes in cytology/ histo of affected tissues