Serum protein electrophoresis was performed in 42 dogs with naturally occurring Ehrlichia canis infection and in 15 clinically healthy dogs (control dogs). The infected dogs were found to have a significant hypoalbuminaemia, hyperglobulinaemia and hypergammaglobulinaemia compared to the control dogs (P < 0.001). A polyclonal gammopathy was found in all but one of the infected dogs which presented a monoclonal gammopathy. α-1 globulin was lower while α-2 and β-2 globulin concentrations were significantly higher in the infected dogs (P < 0.0001, P < 0.05 and P < 0.005, respectively). The infected dogs were divided into two subgroups according to haematological parameters, defined as pancytopenic (n = 13) and non-pancytopenic (n = 29). When compared, the pancytopenic group revealed significantly lower concentrations of total protein, total globulin and gammaglobulin (P < 0.01, P < 0.05 and P < 0.05, respectively). The lower concentrations of the gammaglobulins coupled with the pancytopenia suggest that the immune state of the pancytopenic E. canis infected dogs is more compromised, and therefore secondary infections should be expected more frequently in these dogs.
- Ehrlichia canis
- polyclonal gammopathy