Hepatozoon canis infection causing a strong monocytosis with intra-monocytic gamonts and leading to erroneous leukocyte determinations

Inger Lilliehöök*, Harold W. Tvedten, Helena K. Pettersson, Gad Baneth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In this case report, a Swedish flat-coated retriever was diagnosed with an extensive Hepatozoon canis infection. The dog had a prominent monocytosis (14.0 × 109/L) with H canis gamonts detected in most monocytes, but none were found in the neutrophils. On the hematology system ADVIA 2120 peroxidase (PEROX) cytogram, most leukocytes were seen as a distinct cell population above the lymphocytes, which indicated that most of the cells were larger than lymphocytes and had weak myeloperoxidase staining. This distinct cell cluster appeared to be of a single cell type but was incorrectly divided by the ADVIA 2120 into lymphocytes, monocytes, and large unstained cells (LUC). The total leukocyte counts on the ADVIA 2120 WBC basophil (BASO) channel were much higher than that on the WBC PEROX count. The WBC BASO cytogram appeared abnormal with two parallel cell populations, so the BASO WBC count was considered erroneous. Polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequencing verified H canis infection. The dog was treated with subcutaneous imidocarb dipropionate (6 mg/kg) injections every other week. Post-treatment hematology analyses indicated that the percentage of parasitized leukocytes decreased from 40% to 5% about 4 weeks after the start of treatment and were not found in any monocytes 6 weeks after the beginning of the treatment. In conclusion, H canis infection in this dog was associated with a strong monocytosis, and gamonts were present in many monocytes, which caused aberrant automated leukocyte counts to occur.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)435-440
Number of pages6
JournalVeterinary Clinical Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 American Society for Veterinary Clinical Pathology


  • ADVIA 2120
  • Hepatozoon canis
  • blood leukocyte
  • dog
  • monocyte


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