Original Research

Renal involvement in dogs with babesiosis

R.G. Lobetti, L.S. Jacobson
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 72, No 1 | a604 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v72i1.604 | © 2001 R.G. Lobetti, L.S. Jacobson | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 July 2001 | Published: 09 July 2001

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R.G. Lobetti,
L.S. Jacobson,

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Proteinuria, and renal tubular casts and epithelial cells in urine sediment, are commonly observed in both complicated and uncomplicated babesiosis, but do not necessarily reflect or predict renal failure. This study investigated the presence and degree of renal damage in canine babesiosis. Renal function and integrity were evaluated using serum urea and creatinine, serum electrolytes (sodium and potassium), fractional clearance of sodium (FcNa) and potassium (FcK), urine enzyme activity of gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase and alkaline phosphatase, urine protein:creatinine ratio, and urinalysis. One control group (n =10) and 3 groups of babesiosis cases were studied: mild uncomplicated (n =10), severe uncomplicated (n = 11), and complicated (n = 9). All babesiosis groups showed well-concentrated urine. Mean serum urea was elevated in the severe and complicated groups, and was significantly different from the control group. There was no statistically significant difference between the groups for creatinine, although the complicated group had a mean value above the normal reference range. Hypokalaemia was uncommon in all the groups. Hyperkalaemia was present in only 2 dogs in the complicated group. Marginal hyponatraemia was present in a minority of dogs in all groups. The serumelectrolytes were not significantly different between groups. There was no overall elevation, nor any statistically significant difference in both the FcNa and FcK between the groups. Only 1 dog, in the complicated group, showed marked enzymuria. Proteinuria was a common finding and was significantly different between the severe and complicated groups and the control group. Some dogs in all groups had renal tubular epithelial cells in the urinary sediment, which increased in severity from the mild to the complicated groups and was significantly different from the control group. This study demonstrated that minimal renal damage occurs more often in canine babesiosis than significant damage or acute renal failure.


Babesiosis; Canine; Kidney; Renal Function


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