Molecular characterization of Hepatozoon canis from farm dogs in Pakistan

Abdullah S. Ahmad, Muhammad A. Saeed, Imran Rashid, Kamran Ashraf, Wasim Shehzad, Rebecca J. Traub, Gad Baneth, Abdul Jabbar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Hepatozoon canis is a tick-borne pathogen of canids, which is distributed worldwide. However, very little is known about this protozoan parasite in Pakistan. This study provides the first molecular evidence of H. canis from farm dogs from three agro-ecological zones of Punjab, Pakistan. A conventional PCR targeting the 18S rRNA gene was used to characterize H. canis from farm dogs from three districts, namely Kasur, Rawalpindi, and Muzaffargarh, in Punjab. Of 341 blood samples tested, 155 (45.5%) were positive for H. canis, 73 (61.3%) from Kasur, 46 (42.5%) from Rawalpindi, and 36 (31.5%) from Muzaffargarh. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that 18S rRNA sequences of H. canis from this study clustered in three clades with those of H. canis from previously published studies to the exclusion of all other Hepatozoon spp. included in the analysis. This study provides the first insight into H. canis from farm dogs in Pakistan. Furthermore, it lays a foundation for future studies of the parasite to assess the impact of canine hepatozoonosis in dogs from various agro-ecological zones in Pakistan where pet ownership of dogs is increasing.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1131-1138
Number of pages8
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.


  • 18S rRNA gene molecular characterization
  • Dogs
  • Hepatozoon canis
  • Pakistan
  • Prevalence


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