This observational study of 100 dogs naturally infected with Babesia rossi determined whether severity of parasitaemia was associated with outcome of infection and documented the relative distribution of parasitised red blood cells (pRBC) in capillary and venous circulation. The association between increased parasitaemias and outcome with a clinically compromised circulation was also investigated. Outcome was defined as either hospitalisation with death, or hospitalisation with eventual recovery or treatment as an outpatient. Dogs were enrolled if large babesias were found on stained thin capillary blood smears made from an ear prick. Thin venous smears were prepared from jugular or cephalic blood. Parasitaemias were manually counted and expressed as the percent pRBC. Ten dogs died, 50 recovered after hospitalisation and 40 were treated as outpatients. Venous sampling site did not affect venous parasitaemia (P = 0.6). Both capillary and venous parasitaemias of dogs that died were significantly higher than those of dogs that recovered after hospitalisation (P = 0.002) and dogs that were treated as outpatients (P < 0.0001). When assessing the whole group, capillary parasitaemia (median 0.61%, range <0.05-71.6%, interquartile range (IQR) 0.22-3.75%) was significantly higher than venous parasitaemia (median 0.14%, range 0-30.6%, IQR 0.046–0.52%) with P < 0.0001. The 21 dogs with a clinically compromised circulation were more likely to die (P <0.0001) and had significantly higher capillary (median 5.98%, range 0.09-71.6%, IQR 2.44-19.41%) and venous (median 2.81%, range <0.05-30.6%, IQR 0.17-9.03%) parasitaemias than the 79 dogs with a clinically normal circulation (capillary median parasitaemia 0.38%, range <0.05-12.87%, IQR 0.16-1.42%; venous median parasitaemia 0.096%, range 0-6.13%, IQR <0.05-0.33%; P < 0.0001). This study shows that high parasitaemia is significantly associated with death in B rossi infected dogs. Unfortunately, there was a wide overlap in the parasitaemias of the three outcome groups with the result that neither capillary nor venous parasitaemias appear prognostically useful. The previous clinical suspicion that capillary parasitaemias are usually higher than venous parasitaemias is confirmed. Thus capillary samples are the most appropriate diagnostic samples. Prior observations that a clinically compromised circulation is associated with death are confirmed. This association provides a rapid means of identifying patients in need of intensive monitoring and treatment. Despite the highly significant association between compromised circulation and higher parasitaemia, it is thought unlikely that parasite burden is the sole trigger for circulatory collapse. Copyright 2006, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria. Please cite as follows: Bohm, M 2006, The comparative assessment of capillary and venous Babesia rossi parasitaemias on thin blood smears and their association with disease manifestation, MMedVet dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05042007-154527 / >
Dissertation (Master of Veterinary Medicine (Small Animal Medicine))--University of Pretoria, 2007.