Lung pathology of natural Babesia rossi infection in dogs



acute lung injury (ALI), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), babesiosis, immunohistochemistry, interstitial pneumonia, pulmonary


A proportion of Babesia rossi infections in dogs are classified as complicated and one of the most lethal complications is acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Most dogs that die succumb within 24 hours of presentation. The pulmonary pathology caused by B. rossi in dogs has not been described. The aim of this study was to provide a thorough macroscopic, histological and immunohistochemical description of the lung changes seen in dogs naturally infected with B. rossi that succumbed to the infection. Death was invariably accompanied by alveolar oedema. Histopathology showed acute interstitial pneumonia characterised by alveolar oedema and haemorrhages, with increased numbers of mononuclear leucocytes in alveolar walls and lumens. Intra-alveolar polymerised fibrin aggregates were observed in just over half the infected cases. Immunohistochemistry showed increased numbers of MAC387- and CD204-reactive monocyte-macrophages in alveolar walls and lumens, and increased CD3 reactive T-lymphocytes in alveolar walls, compared with controls. These histological features overlap to some extent (but far from perfectly) with the histological pattern of lung injury referred to as the exudative stage of diffuse alveolar damage (DAD) as is quite commonly reported in ALI/ARDS.

Author Biographies

  • C Martin, Idexx Laboratories (Pty) Ltd

    Idexx Laboratories (Pty) Ltd, South Africa

  • S Clift, University of Pretoria

    Section of Pathology, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa

  • A Leisewitz, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine

    Department of Clinical Sciences, Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine, United States of America and Section of Small Animal Medicine, Companion Animal Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa






Original Research