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Detection of aTheileriaspecies in dogs in South Africa

Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2008.06.025
  • Theileriasp.
  • Dogs
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • South Africa


Abstract A Theileria species was detected by PCR in blood samples collected from dogs in the Pietermaritzburg area and was also found in dogs presented at the Outpatients Clinic of the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital (OVAH), in the Pretoria area, South Africa. In the Pietermaritzburg area, 79 of the 192 samples were positive, while 3 out of 1137 of the Onderstepoort samples were positive. Three positive samples from Pietermaritzburg were co-infected with Ehrlichia canis. PCR positive samples were further analysed by the Reverse Line Blot (RLB) and sequence analysis. Phylogenetic analysis of the 18S rRNA full-length gene sequences of one sample (VT12) from Pietermaritzburg and two samples from OVAH (BC281 and BC295) revealed a close relationship with sequences of Theileria species (sable). Clinical signs of the dogs that were examined at Pietermaritzburg and OVAH included an immune-mediated condition with severe thrombocytopenia. These findings identify a Theileria sp. in dogs for the first time in South Africa and add yet another microorganism to the growing list of haemoprotozoan parasites infecting dogs worldwide. The clinical significance of this infection in dogs is poorly resolved.

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