Perspectives on canine and feline hepatozoonosis

Gad Baneth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

213 Scopus citations


Two species of Hepatozoon are currently known to infect dogs and cause distinct diseases. Hepatozoon canis prevalent in Africa, Asia, southern Europe, South America and recently shown to be present also in the USA causes infection mainly of hemolymphoid organs, whereas Hepatozoon americanum prevalent in the southeastern USA causes myositis and severe lameness. H. americanum is transmitted by ingestion of the Gulf Coast tick Amblyomma maculatum and also by predation on infected prey. H. canis is transmitted by Rhipicephalus sanguineus, in South America also by Amblyomma ovale, and has also been shown to be transmitted transplacentally. Hepatozoonosis of domestic cats has been described mostly from the same areas where canine infection is present and the exact identity of the species which infect cats, their pathogenicity and vectors have not been elucidated. The diagnosis of hepatozoonosis is made by observation of gamonts in blood smears, histopathology, PCR or serology. The main treatment for H. canis is with imidocarb dipropionate whereas H. americanum infection is treated with an initial combination of trimethoprim-sulfadiazine, pyrimethamine and clindamycin followed by maintenance with decoquinate. Treatment for both diseases has not been reported to facilitate complete parasite elimination and new effective drugs are needed for the management of these infections. Prevention of hepatozoonosis should be based on avoidance of oral ingestion of infected tick vectors and infected prey.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 8 Sep 2011


  • Amblyomma maculatum
  • Amblyomma ovale
  • Hepatozoon americanum
  • Hepatozoon canis
  • Hepatozoon felis
  • Rhipicephalus sanguineus


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