Development of Ehrlichia canis, causative agent of canine ehrlichiosis, in the tick Rhipicephalus sanguineus and its differentiation from a symbiotic Rickettsia

Am J Vet Res. 1976 Feb;37(2):119-26.


Certain aspects of the development of Ehrlichia canis, causative agent of canine ehrlichiosis (tropical canine pancytopenia) in Rhipicephalus sanguineus ticks were studied. It was found that partial feeding of nymphs infected as larvae with E canis was a desirable, if not necessary, preliminary treatment for successful infection of dogs with ground-up ticks. It remains unclear whether feeding increased the number or altered the virulence of ehrlichiae within tick tissues. Ehrlichia canis organisms were detected by immunofluorescent microscopy in the midgut and hemocytes and by electron microscopy in the midgut and salivary glands of partially engorged adult ticks which had been infected as larvae and nymphs. Organisms were not observed in the ovary. Intracytoplasmic inclusions contained 1 to 80 elementary bodies, each provided with 2 distinct membranes. Infection of the midgut and salivary gland was confirmed by injecting homogenates of these tissues into susceptible dogs. Staining of gut smears of partially engorged adult ticks by fluorescein-conjugated anti-E canis antibody was found to be a reliable indicator of the infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / etiology*
  • Dogs
  • Ehrlichia / growth & development*
  • Ehrlichia / immunology
  • Ehrlichia / ultrastructure
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Male
  • Nymph
  • Ovary / microbiology
  • Ovary / ultrastructure
  • Rickettsia / ultrastructure*
  • Rickettsiaceae / growth & development*
  • Rickettsiaceae Infections / etiology
  • Rickettsiaceae Infections / veterinary*
  • Salivary Glands / microbiology
  • Salivary Glands / ultrastructure
  • Sepsis / etiology
  • Sepsis / veterinary*
  • Symbiosis*
  • Ticks / microbiology*
  • Ticks / ultrastructure