Haemotropic mycoplasmas of cats and dogs: transmission, diagnosis, prevalence and importance in Europe

Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd. 2010 May;152(5):237-44. doi: 10.1024/0036-7281/a000055.


Haemotropic mycoplasmas (or haemoplasmas) are the causative agents of infectious anaemia in many mammalian species. They were previously known as Haemobartonella and Eperythrozoon species. The development of sensitive, specific PCR assays has expanded our knowledge of these agents and PCR is the method of choice to diagnose and differentiate haemoplasma infections. In felids, Mycoplasma haemofelis, 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum' and 'Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis' have been described. They vary strongly in their pathogenic potential and co-factors may influence the disease severity. In dogs, Mycoplasma haemocanis and 'Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum' are known; clinical signs are mainly found in immunocompromised dogs. Transmission of haemoplasmas may occur via infected blood (aggressive interaction, transfusion) or blood-sucking arthropods. Infections can be treated with Doxycycline, although it is disputable whether the infection is completely eliminated. Feline haemoplasmas must be expected in cats all over Europe, while canine haemoplasmas are mainly encountered in dogs in Mediterranean countries but should also be considered in Swiss dogs with a travel history.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cat Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cat Diseases / parasitology
  • Cat Diseases / transmission
  • Cats
  • Dog Diseases / diagnosis
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / parasitology
  • Dog Diseases / transmission
  • Dogs
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Mediterranean Region / epidemiology
  • Mycoplasma
  • Mycoplasma Infections / diagnosis
  • Mycoplasma Infections / epidemiology
  • Mycoplasma Infections / transmission
  • Mycoplasma Infections / veterinary*
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Travel