Babesiosis in Latvian domestic dogs, 2016–2019

Maija Seleznova, Agnija Kivrane, Agne Namina, Rudolfs Krumins, Darja Aleinikova, Marija Lazovska, Sarmite Akopjana, Valentina Capligina, Renate Ranka (Coresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Canine babesiosis is tick-borne infection that represents a major veterinary issue in Central and Eastern Europe with a tendency to expand northwards. The first published report in Latvia about autochthonous cases of babesiosis in domestic dogs with no travel history was in 2013, and to the best of our knowledge, no other studies on this issue have been published to date. The aim of this study was to analyze the occurrence and clinical manifestations of babesiosis in Latvian domestic dogs with a history of tick exposure to determine the extent to which Babesia sp. causes the disease and to map outbreaks in Latvia. From 2016 to 2019, blood samples from dogs were collected, and molecular testing was performed by nested PCR using Babesia sp.-specific primers. In total, 43 of 262 samples were Babesia canis-positive. A seasonal pattern was observed for the outbreaks, as the majority of B. canis-positive samples (98%) were submitted between April and June, and there was a single canine babesiosis case recorded in October. Nearly half of the cases (46.5%) were recorded in the capital, Riga, and other cases were recorded in southern and western parts of Latvia. Clinical signs were consistent with typical manifestations of acute canine babesiosis; most common hematological changes were thrombocytopenia (89%) and normocytic normochromic anemia (69%). Blood smear microscopy was positive for 79% of cases. Two B. canis genotypes were distinguished on the basis of two nucleotide (GA → AG) substitutions in the 18S rRNA gene at positions 610/611; however, no relationship between the genotypes and the severity of the disease was found. In conclusion, canine babesiosis has become an endemic disease in the southern and western regions of Latvia and is caused solely by the large babesia species B. canis. Awareness among veterinarians and pet owners regarding the disease should be increased.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101459
JournalTicks and Tick-borne Diseases
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Babesia canis
  • Canine babesiosis
  • Epidemiology
  • Latvia

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine
  • 4.3 Veterinary science

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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