Hepatozoon thomsoni Minchin,  Hepatozoon is a genus of Apicomplexa alveolates which incorporates over species obligate intraerythrocytic parasites. Species have been described from all groups of tetrapod vertebrates, as well as a wide range of haematophagous arthropods , which serve as both the vectors and definitive hosts of the parasite. By far the most biodiverse and prevalent of all haemogregarines , the genus is distinguished by its unique reciprocal trophic lifecycle which lacks the salivary transmission between hosts commonly associated with other apicomplexans. While particularly prevalent in amphibians and reptiles, the genus is more well known in veterinary circles for causing a tick-borne disease called hepatozoonosis in some mammals. Lifecycle[ edit ] Hepatozoon species in the blood of reptiles  Members of the genus Hepatozoon possess particularly complex lifecycles which vary considerably among species. Sexual reproduction and sporogenic development occur within the haemocoel of the invertebrate host, which is subsequently consumed by the vertebrate host.
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Summary of Content Hepatozoon canis is a one-celled parasite that is usually transmitted by the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. It can cause serious disease, however, in animals with concurrent disease such as ehrlichiosis and babesiosis, or in animals with suppressed immune systems. Signs of disease include fever, loss of weight, loss of appetite, nasal discharge, and weakness of the rear limbs.
A mild anemia and bloody diarrhea may also be seen. As the disease progresses, lameness, severe muscle pain, and an inability to rise are often observed. These signs may occur on and off for years.
Back to top Diagnosis A diagnosis of Hepatozoon canis infection is made by microscopically examining the blood and finding the parasite in particular white blood cells called neutrophils. A great increase in the number of this certain type of white blood cell is a characteristic sign of this disease. Finding the parasite in a muscle biopsy is a very reliable method of diagnosing this disease. In some severely affected dogs, the point at which the muscles attach to the bones may become inflamed.
These bony changes may be seen on radiographs. Back to top Causation Hepatozoon canis is a one-celled parasite that is usually transmitted by the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. Because of the long time interval between becoming infected and developing illness, this disease is not just seen during the tick season, but all year-round.
It is not a very common disease in the United States, but when it does occur it is usually in Texas and the surrounding states. This parasite infects dogs, coyotes, and fox. Inside the cells of these organs, the parasite reproduces by dividing and eventually ruptures the cell.
The parasite then moves into different cells to continue the process of maturing and rupturing cells. The damage caused by the rupturing of these cells causes the severe muscle pain. Eventually, the more mature forms enter particular white blood cells. When a tick bites the dog, the tick takes in the white blood cells. Treatments At-home Care Feed a high quality diet to promote a healthy immune system and administer all medications as prescribed.
Supportive Care Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to provide pain relief and reduce fever. In severe cases, dogs may require fluid therapy to maintain hydration. This may be achieved with subcutaneous fluids injected under the skin or the dog may need to be hospitalized for intravenous fluids. Medications A drug called Imidocarb dipropionate is administered subcutaneously every 14 days until the parasite is no longer found in blood smears.
Dogs with concurrent tick borne infections should receive doxycycline, as well. Medical Procedures.
Hepatozoon canis in Dogs