• Open Access

Breed and Sex Risk Factors for Canine Babesiosis in South Africa

Authors

  • R.J. Mellanby,

    Corresponding author
    • From the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The Roslin Institute, Hospital for Small Animals, Division of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland (Mellanby, Clements)
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  • I.G. Handel,

    1. The Roslin Institute and The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian, UK (Handel, Bronsvoort, Lengeling)
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  • D.N. Clements,

    1. From the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The Roslin Institute, Hospital for Small Animals, Division of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland (Mellanby, Clements)
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  • B.M. de C. Bronsvoort,

    1. The Roslin Institute and The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian, UK (Handel, Bronsvoort, Lengeling)
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  • A. Lengeling,

    1. The Roslin Institute and The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The University of Edinburgh, Roslin, Midlothian, UK (Handel, Bronsvoort, Lengeling)
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  • J.P. Schoeman

    1. The Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Republic of South Africa (Schoeman).
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Corresponding author: R.J. Mellanby, The University of Edinburgh, Division of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, The Roslin Institute, Hospital for Small Animals, Easter Bush Veterinary Centre, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, Scotland; e-mail: Richard.Mellanby@ed.ac.uk.

Abstract

Background:

In South Africa, canine babesiosis typically is an acute disease in susceptible individuals and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Despite the importance of the disease, there have been no large studies that have examined the influence of breed and sex on disease susceptibility.

Hypothesis:

Toy breeds have a lower risk of babesiosis than working dogs.

Animals:

A total of 1,222 dogs diagnosed with canine babesiosis and 11,484 noninfected dogs presented to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital's small animal outpatient clinic between 2004 and 2010.

Methods:

Retrospective study.

Results:

Intact male, neutered male, and neutered female dogs had a significantly higher odds of being diagnosed with canine babesiosis compared to intact female dogs. Five of the 6 Toy breeds had significantly lower odds of being diagnosed with canine babesiosis than did the reference breed, Labrador Retrievers. In contrast, none of the 8 working dog breeds had significantly lower odds compared to the reference breed.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance:

Intact male, neutered male, and neutered female dogs were at increased risk of canine babesiosis compared to intact female dogs. Several dog breeds, notably Toy breeds, had a lower risk of babesiosis in a hospital population of dogs in South Africa. The mechanism or mechanisms by which Toy breeds are protected from developing canine babesiosis may be related to genetic background or environmental exposure and deserves further study.

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