• Open Access

Molecular Prevalence of Bartonella,Babesia, and Hemotropic Mycoplasma sp. in Dogs with Splenic Disease


Corresponding author: E.B. Breitschwerdt, DVM, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 1060 William Moore Dr., Raleigh, NC 27607; e-mail: ed_breitschwerdt@ncsu.edu.



Among diseases that cause splenomegaly in dogs, lymphoid nodular hyperplasia (LNH), splenic hemangiosarcoma (HSA), and fibrohistiocytic nodules (FHN) are common diagnoses. The spleen plays an important role in the immunologic control or elimination of vector-transmitted, blood-borne pathogens, including Bartonella sp., Babesia sp., and hemotropic Mycoplasma sp.


To compare the prevalence of Bartonella sp.,Babesia sp., and hemotropic Mycoplasma sp. DNA in spleens from dogs with LNH, HSA, and FHN.

Materials and Methods

Paraffin-embedded, surgically obtained biopsy tissues from LNH (N = 50), HSA (N = 50), and FHN (N = 37) were collected from the anatomic pathology archives. Spleens from specific pathogen-free (SPF) dogs (N = 8) were used as controls. Bartonella sp., Babesia sp., and Mycoplasma sp. DNA was amplified by PCR, followed by DNA sequencing.


Bartonella sp. DNA was more prevalent in FHN (29.7%) and HSA (26%) as compared to LNH (10%) (P = .019, .0373, respectively) or control spleens (0.0%). The prevalence of Babesia sp. and hemotropic Mycoplasma sp. DNA was significantly lower than Bartonella sp. DNA in HSA (P = .0005, .006, respectively) and FHN (P = .003, .0004, respectively). There was no statistically significant difference in DNA prevalence among the 3 genera in the LNH group.


The higher prevalence of Bartonella sp. in FHN and HSA warrants future investigations to determine if this bacterium plays a role in the development of these splenic diseases.