Molecular characterisation of Babesia canis canis and Babesia canis vogeli from naturally infected European dogs

Vet Parasitol. 2002 Jul 2;106(4):285-92. doi: 10.1016/s0304-4017(02)00112-7.


The morphologically small Babesia species isolated from naturally infected dogs in Europe, Japan, and US are described as Babesia gibsoni despite the fact that molecular techniques show that they should be assigned to two or three separate taxons. The morphologically large Babesia isolated from dogs in Europe, Africa, and US were generally classified as B. canis until it was proposed to distinguish three related, albeit genetically distinct subspecies of this genus, namely B. canis canis, B. canis rossi, and B. canis vogeli. The insight into the molecular taxonomy of canine piroplasms is, however, limited because only partial small subunit ribosomal RNA (ssrRNA) sequence data exist for two species from the B. canis group. In this work, we molecularly characterised natural Babesia infections in 11 dogs from Croatia, France, Italy, and Poland. These infections were diagnosed as caused by B. canis canis and B. canis vogeli based on the analysis of the complete sequence of the ssrRNA genes. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed that the large Babesia species of dogs belong the to the Babesia sensu stricto clade, which includes species characterised by transovarial transmission in the tick vectors and by exclusive development inside the mammalian host erythrocytes. The new data facilitate the reliable molecular diagnosis of the subspecies of B. canis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Babesia / classification*
  • Babesia / genetics
  • Babesiosis / parasitology
  • Babesiosis / veterinary*
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Protozoan / chemistry
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • Dog Diseases / parasitology*
  • Dogs
  • Europe
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary
  • RNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Protozoan
  • RNA, Ribosomal

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AY072925
  • GENBANK/AY072926