Cell-mediated and humoral immune response in naturally and experimentally infected dogs was studied using crude and pure antigens. Both types of infections induced severe signs of visceral disease, but the symptoms observed in natural infections were more pronounced than in experimental infections. In addition, asymptomatic infections were not observed in experimentally infected animals. Disease evolution in laboratory infections was rapid and an increase in antibody titer to crude parasite antigen was correlated with the appearance and aggravation of clinical symptoms. Peripheral blood lymphocyte proliferation to crude antigen and pure gp63 was observed early following experimental infection, but was abolished once the infected dogs began to exhibit clinical signs. A similar pattern was observed in naturally infected dogs. Serum from all patent dogs showed high antibody titers to rK39 in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), and reacted by western blotting with several antigens, 12 to 120 KDa, including gp63 and gp70. In the case of asymptomatic dogs. antibody titers to crude antigen were low and only a few antigens were identified by western blotting. None of the pure proteins examined, gp63, gp70, and rK39 were recognized by western blotting or ELISA. However, asymptomatic dogs exhibited specific lymphocyte proliferation to both crude antigen and the potential vaccine candidate gp63.