Thrombocytopenia and platelet activity in dogs experimentally infected with Rangelia vitalii

Vet Parasitol. 2012 Apr 30;185(2-4):131-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2011.09.039. Epub 2011 Oct 4.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the platelet count, coagulation time and platelet activity in dogs experimentally infected with Rangelia vitalii during the acute phase of the disease. For this study, 12 young dogs (females) were used, separated in two groups. Group A (uninfected control) was composed by healthy dogs (n=5), and group B consisted of R. vitalii-infected animals (n=7). After being inoculated with R. vitalii-infected blood, animals were monitored by blood smear examinations, which showed intra-erythrocytic forms of the parasite five days post-inoculation (PI). Blood samples were collected on days 0, 10, 20 and 30 PI. The material collected was placed in tubes containing EDTA for quantification of platelets, citrate anticoagulant platelet aggregation, and measuring the clotting time. Right after blood collection on days 10 and 20 PI, dogs were anesthetized for collecting bone marrow samples. A significant reduction (P<0.01) of the number of platelets was observed in R. vitalii-infected blood, when compared with uninfected dogs on days 10 and 20 PI. Additionally, macro-platelets were observed only in infected dogs. Prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time did not differ between infected and uninfected dogs. The megakaryocyte count increased (P<0.01) significantly in infected dogs when compared with uninfected ones on days 10 and 20 PI. Platelet aggregation decreased (P<0.01) significantly in infected dogs in comparison to the control on days 10 and 20 PI. Therefore, rangeliosis in dogs causes a severe thrombocytopenia during the acute phase of infection. This platelets reduction probably occurred due to splenic sequestration and/or immune-mediated thrombocytopenia.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Babesia / classification*
  • Babesiosis / blood*
  • Babesiosis / pathology
  • Blood Platelets / physiology*
  • Dog Diseases / blood
  • Dog Diseases / parasitology*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Platelet Count*