In order to determine the role of the spleen in the pathogenesis of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME), the effect of splenectomy on the course of the acute phase of experimental was investigated. Intact and splenectomized dogs, sero-negative for Ehrlichia canis antibodies, were infected with the Israeli strain of E. canis. Serology, clinical signs and haematological parameters were recorded prior to infection, and over a period of 60 days post infection, and were compared between the intact and the splenectomized dogs. All dogs seroconverted for IFA E. canis antibodies by days 10 to 17 post infection. There did not appear to be any difference in the day of appearance or in the titer of anti-E. canis IgG antibodies, between the splenectomized and intact groups throughout the course of the study. During the acute stage, food consumption (percentage change) was significantly lower in the intact group compared to the splenectomized group (-66.3% and -25.3%, respectively, p < 0.0001). During this period, significant higher body temperatures were measured in the intact group (average of 39.76°C vs. 38.96°C, p < 0.0001). The haematocrit, red blood cell counts, haemoglobin concentrations and platelet counts were significantly lower (p < 0.05) in the intact group when compared to the splenectomized group during the whole course of the study. The clinical and the haematological findings in our study suggest that the disease process was milder in the splenectomized dogs compared to the intact dogs. The results of this study suggest that the spleen plays an important role in the pathogenesis of CME. Splenic inflammatory mediators and/or other splenic substances, are proposed to play a key role in the pathogenesis of the disease. Our results further substantiate the involvement of immune mechanisms in the pathogenesis of CME.
- Canine monocytic ehrlichiosis