Treatment of dogs infected with Hepatozoon americanum: 53 cases (1989–1998)

Douglass K. Macintire Departments of Small Animal Surgery and Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, AL 36849.

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 DVM, MS, DACVIM, DACVECC
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Dr. Nancy A. Vincent-Johnson


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Curtis W. Kane

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Dr. David S. Lindsay


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Byron L. Blagburn

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Allen R. Dillon

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Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical and pathologic findings before and after short-term (group 1) and longterm (group 2) treatment in dogs with Hepatozoon americanuminfection.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—53 dogs with H americanuminfection.

Procedure—Medical records of dogs that were treated for hepatozoonosis diagnosed on the basis of meront or merozoite stages in skeletal muscle were reviewed.

Results—Circulating gametocytes of H americanum were identified in 12 of 53 dogs. Dogs were treated with various drugs, including toltrazuril, trimethoprimsulfadiazine, clindamycin, pyrimethamine, and decoquinate. Mean WBC counts prior to treatment were 85,700 and 75,200 cells/µl in groups 1 and 2, respectively, and 1 month after initiation of treatment were 12,600 and 14,600 cells/µl, respectively. Initial response to treatment was excellent in all dogs. Twenty-three of 26 dogs in group 1 relapsed at least once and died within 2 years; mean (± SD) survival time was 12.6 ± 2.2 months. Twenty-two of 27 group-2 dogs survived; 11 dogs had no clinical signs and were still receiving decoquinate (mean duration of treatment, 21 months), 11 dogs had no clinical signs after treatment for 14 months (range, 3 to 33 months; mean survival time, 39 months [range, 26 to 53 months]), 2 dogs were lost to follow-up, and 3 dogs were euthanatized because of severe disease.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although no treatment effectively eliminated the tissue stages of H americanum, treatment with trimethoprim-sulfadiazine, clindamycin, and pyrimethamine followed by long-term administration of decoquinate resulted in extended survival times and excellent quality of life. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:77–82)

Abstract

Objective—To determine clinical and pathologic findings before and after short-term (group 1) and longterm (group 2) treatment in dogs with Hepatozoon americanuminfection.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—53 dogs with H americanuminfection.

Procedure—Medical records of dogs that were treated for hepatozoonosis diagnosed on the basis of meront or merozoite stages in skeletal muscle were reviewed.

Results—Circulating gametocytes of H americanum were identified in 12 of 53 dogs. Dogs were treated with various drugs, including toltrazuril, trimethoprimsulfadiazine, clindamycin, pyrimethamine, and decoquinate. Mean WBC counts prior to treatment were 85,700 and 75,200 cells/µl in groups 1 and 2, respectively, and 1 month after initiation of treatment were 12,600 and 14,600 cells/µl, respectively. Initial response to treatment was excellent in all dogs. Twenty-three of 26 dogs in group 1 relapsed at least once and died within 2 years; mean (± SD) survival time was 12.6 ± 2.2 months. Twenty-two of 27 group-2 dogs survived; 11 dogs had no clinical signs and were still receiving decoquinate (mean duration of treatment, 21 months), 11 dogs had no clinical signs after treatment for 14 months (range, 3 to 33 months; mean survival time, 39 months [range, 26 to 53 months]), 2 dogs were lost to follow-up, and 3 dogs were euthanatized because of severe disease.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Although no treatment effectively eliminated the tissue stages of H americanum, treatment with trimethoprim-sulfadiazine, clindamycin, and pyrimethamine followed by long-term administration of decoquinate resulted in extended survival times and excellent quality of life. ( J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:77–82)

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