2004 Volume 66 Issue 8 Pages 893-897
To identify the incidence of Babesia gibsoni (B. gibsoni) in Aomori Prefecture, northeastern Japan, dogs with acute B. gibsoni infection were investigated at the Animal Teaching Hospital, Kitasato University, between April 2002 and March 2003. Eighteen dogs with acute B. gibsoni infection were recognized; they were all male dogs of the fighting dog breed Tosa. Their platelet counts were below normal and their packed cell volumes (PCVs) were at various levels. We collected blood samples from 141 Tosa dogs from Aomori Prefecture and used polymerase chain reaction assay to investigate the incidence of subclinical B. gibsoni infection. We also looked into the serological abnormalities associated with thrombocytopenia or anemia in subclinical infection. Forty-one of 87 dogs (47.1%) with histories of dog fighting, and one dog of 54 without a history of dog fighting were positive for B. gibsoni; that is, 42 of 141 dogs (29.8%) showed a positive result. The mean platelet counts of dogs with subclinical infection were significantly lower and levels of anti-platelet IgG were significantly higher than levels for dogs without infection. Anti-erythrocyte membrane IgG levels were significantly higher in dogs with subclinical infections, although mean PCVs were not significantly different. Tosa dogs from Aomori Prefecture, Japan, were highly infected with B. gibsoni subclinically and this pathogen might be successfully transmitted during dog fighting. Dogs with subclinical infections were at risk of chronic thrombocytopenia, which may be due to autoimmune mechanisms.