DUAL INFECTION OF BABESIA AND MICROFILARIA IN A LABRADOR DOG IN MEGHALAYA – A CASE REPORT

Amarjit Karam, M. Das, K. Kakoty, R.KDewry, M. Kalita, K. Puro, S. Das, S. Ghatak,
I. Shakuntala, R.K. Sanjukta, R.G. Laha and A. Sen
Division of Animal Health, ICAR-Regional Centre for NEH region, Umiam, Meghalaya -793 103.
[Received: 27.3.2017; Accepted: 03.10.2017]

A male Labrador of one year of age was presented to the Division of Animal Health, ICAR, Regional
Centre,Umiam, Meghalaya with a primary complaint of anorexia, vomition, red colour urine and fever. The dog was
found to be dull with elevated rectal temperature 40oC. Blood smear examination revealed that dog was positive
for Babesia gibsoni and Babesia canis as well as Microfilaria. Radiography of the heart showed slightly enlarged right
ventricle. The dog was treated successfully with combination of antihaemoprotozoon, antiparasitic and antibacterial
drugs along with supportive treatment of multivitamin and mineral supplements.
Key words: Babesia, Dog, Microfilaria.

A number of canine vector-borne diseases such as filariosis, babesiosis and ehrlichiosis are endemic throughout India as  diagnosed mostly by morphological methods (Puteri et al., 2010)a. The filarial nematodes viz. Dirofilaria spp., Acanthocheilonema spp. and Brugia spp. have all been reported in Indian dogs (Puteri et al., 2010)b. Transmission of the parasite is through the mosquito bite, as a result it is limited to warm weather and duration of the transmission season varies geographically (Knight, 1998). The symptoms of Dirofilaria spp infestation in dog may vary from asymptomatic in mild case to exercise intolerance and fainting in severe case. Canine babesiosis is an emerging tick-borne life threatening disease caused by the intra-erythrocytic protozoan parasites under the genus Babesia in many parts of the world including India (Singla et al., 2014). It is caused by two species of Babesia viz; B. canis and B. gibsoni. The disease is transmitted by ticks. The severity of babesiosis is related to the extent of parasite
replication in the host’s red blood cells with subsequent cell lysis. A wide variety of clinical signs like anorexia, lethargy, icterus, vomition, and marked loss of body condition have been observed. The presence of B. canis,
B. gibsoni, D. immitis, and Ehrlichia canis usually in mixed infections in Assam have also been reported  Bhattacharjee et al., 2014). Here, we present the case of mixed infection in dog by microfilaria and babesiosis from Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya and its treatment.

Case History and Observations
A male Labrador of one year of age and 30kg body weight was presented to the Division of Animal Health ICAR, Regional Centre, Umiam with complaints like weakness, vomition, anorexia, fever and haemoglobinurea. The dog had a history of ticks and mosquitoes bite as informed by the owner. During physical examination, the dog
had shown poor body condition, dehydration and weakness. Body temperature was pyretic 40oC. However the respiration and heart rate were within the normal range. Mucous membranes were pale.

A blood sample (2ml) was aseptically collected in an EDTA vial for diagnosis of haemoprotozoan parasites. Direct
examination of the blood smear without staining revealed the presence of microfilariae (Fig.1). The microscopic
examination of Giemsa-stained thin blood smears under oil immersion (100 X) revealed the presence of oval and comma-like organisms in the erythrocytes. On the basis of the morphological size and shape of the intracellular parasites (Fig. 2 and 3), it was identified as B. gibsoni and B. canis. Due to the detection of microfilariae in the blood, the owner was advised to get the radiography of dog’s chest. The image (Fig. 4) showed slight enlargement of the right ventricle of heart.

Treatment
The dog was treated with ivermectin injection subcutaneously @ 0.3mg/kg body weight at weekly interval for four occasions for microfilaria infection and advised the owner to give doxycycline tablets @ 10mg/kg body weight once daily orally for a month.
For babesiosis, diminazene aceturate was given @ 3.5 mg/ kg body weight deep intramuscularly. In addition, supportive treatment with iron injection was given @ 2ml intramuscularly on alternate days for 5 occasions to control anaemia. For restoring the appetite, multivitamins and minerals @ 5ml each twice daily orally were given for 20 days. Antacid gel was also given @ 5ml twice daily orally for 7 days to control acidity during the oral antibiotic therapy with doxycycline tablets.

Results and Discussion
The dog recovered eventually after one month of treatment. We observed in our study that a number of canine vector-borne diseases such as filariosis and babesiosis are endemic in tropical areas including North east India
causing morbidity and mortality in dogs. The mixed infection by these haemoprotozoons causes more life  hreatening disease. With the climate change where the dynamics of tick population is changing, the disease
distribution over a period of time and place need to be studied so that effective control regime for vector and treatment for parasites can be evolved. The antimicrobial doxycycline and ivermectin was used for microfilaria treatment while diminazene aceturate is effective for B. canis. Doxycycline is reported to be helpful in clearance of B. gibsoni. Similarly, Grandi et al., (2010) suggested that a combination of doxycycline and ivermectin is effective on both mirofilaria and adult D. immitis in dogs. The benefit of doxycycline result from its ability to remove or reduce the burden of Wolbachia, a rickettsial organism that exists in a symbolic relationship with heartworms
(and other filarids), occupying the reproductive tract and lateral chords of the host. Supportive treatment with multivitamin and mineral was essential to the treatment regime. Enlargement of the heart as revealed
in radiography could be due to increased functioning of the heart to compensate the blood loss or the presence of worms may cause the enlargement. Timely treatment is effective in controlling and recovery from the disease. Therefore awareness about the clinical signs help in the diagnosis and management is important to prevent the
disease occurrence.

References
Bhattacharjee, B., Sarmah, P.C., and Barman N.N. (2014). Seroprevalence of vector borne parasites and other infections in naturally exposed dogs of Assam, India. Veterinary World, 7(2): 87-89.

Grandi, G., Quintavalla, C., Mavropoulou, A., Genchi, M., Gnudi, G., Bertoni, G. and Kramer, L. (2010). A combination of doxycycline and ivermectin is adulticidal in dogs with naturally acquired heartworm disease (Dirofilaria immitis). Vet Parasitol., 169 (3-4): 347-351.

Knight, H.D. (1998). Heartworm. Seasonality of Heartworm Infection and Implications for Chemoprophylaxis. Topics in Companion Anim. Med., 13(2): 77-82.

Puteri, A., Megat, A.R., Peter, J.I., Mukulesh, G., Glen, T.C. and Rebecca, J.T. (2010)a. Canine vectorborne diseases in India: a review of the literature and identification of existing knowledge gaps, Parasites and Vectors, 3: 28.

Puteri, A., Megat, A.R., Peter, J.I., Mukulesh, G., Glen, T.C. , Linda, M.M.I. and Rebecca, J.T. (2010)b. A survey of
canine filarial diseases of veterinary and public health significance in India. Parasites and Vectors, 3: 30.

Singla, N., Singla, L.D., and Kaur, P. (2014). Babesiosis in “Zoonosis: Parasitic and Mycotic Diseases”. S. R. Garg (Eds), 1st edn., Daya Publishing House, New Delhi, India. Pp. 207–223.

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