Parasitic Blood Infection (Haemobartonellosis) in Dogs

Haemobartonellosis is a tick transmitted (and sometimes flea transmitted) disease that affects red blood cells in both dogs and cats. Haemobartonellosis in dogs is caused by Mycoplasma haemocanis, formerly known as Haemobartonella canis. Mycoplasma haemocanis belongs to a group of microorganisms called mycoplasmas. Mycoplasma haemocanis contains both DNA and RNA and replicates through binary fission. The bacteria is able to survive without oxygen and lacks a true cell wall which makes it resistent to most antibiotics. Mycoplasma haemocanis is termed "hemotropic mycoplasma" or "hemoplasma" because it is blood(hemo)-associated(tropic).

Hemotrophic mycoplasmosis occurs when mycoplasma parasite, M. haemocanis, infects red blood cells of the body. The symptoms are very mild and the condition resolves itself in most cases before even being diagnosed. In dogs where spleen is removed, this condition can take a stronger hold. The spleen is responsible for removal of damaged red blood cells and its absence causes overload of damaged blood cells.

Common signs and symptoms include:

Mild signs, unless the spleen has been surgically removed

Lack of appetite


Whitish to pale purple gums

Infertility (both genders)

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