Hepatozoonosis is a tick-borne infection of the dogs. There are two forms of hepatozoonosis. American canine hepatozoonosis is caused by Hepatozoon americanum, a protozoan parasite, the definitive host of which is the tick, Amblyomma maculatum. The other form, hepatozoon canis is transmitted by brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus).
Unlike other tick-borne diseases that are transmitted by tick bite, both forms of canine hepatozoonosis are transmitted when a dog eats or otherwise ingests an infected tick.
A dog suffering from hepatozoon canis shows signs of lethargy, weight loss and anorexia (loss of appetite).
A dog suffering from hepatozoon americanum, typically shows muscle wasting as the infection affects the muscle cells, resulting in debilitating and usually fatal condition. Common symptoms of infection with hepatozoon americanum include fever, muscle loss, weight loss, eye discharge, depression and generalized pain.
Other common sysmptoms include bloody diarrhea, hyperesthesia (heightened sensitivity of the skin and musculature) over the back and sides, proliferation of the outer layer (periosteum) of bones, causing pain and kidney failure.
The infection may affect the bones, liver, spleen, muscles, small blood vessels in the heart muscle, and the intestinal tract.