Canine blood smear
Two mixed-breed stray puppies were taken to a veterinary clinic for care. The puppies were heavily infested with ectoparasites including Pulex irritans (human flea) and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (brown dog tick). Bloodwork reavealed anemia and this pathogen was seen on a stained blood smear. What is it?
Case and photo provided by veterinarian and NCVP graduate resident Dr. Lindsay Starkey (Oklahoma State University).
This is Anaplasma platys, a tick-borne bacteria that infects the platelets of dogs and is the causative agent of infectious canine cyclic thromobytopenia. It can be found worldwide and is presumed to be transmitted via the bite of R. sanguineus in the United States. Because the organisms are often confused with platelet granules, many clinical pathologists prefer to confirm the diagnosis with PCR.
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