Parasitology Research

, Volume 117, Issue 4, pp 1131–1138 | Cite as

Molecular characterization of Hepatozoon canis from farm dogs in Pakistan

  • Abdullah S. Ahmad
  • Muhammad A. Saeed
  • Imran Rashid
  • Kamran Ashraf
  • Wasim Shehzad
  • Rebecca J. Traub
  • Gad Baneth
  • Abdul Jabbar
Original Paper


Hepatozoon canis is a tick-borne pathogen of canids, which is distributed worldwide. However, very little is known about this protozoan parasite in Pakistan. This study provides the first molecular evidence of H. canis from farm dogs from three agro-ecological zones of Punjab, Pakistan. A conventional PCR targeting the 18S rRNA gene was used to characterize H. canis from farm dogs from three districts, namely Kasur, Rawalpindi, and Muzaffargarh, in Punjab. Of 341 blood samples tested, 155 (45.5%) were positive for H. canis, 73 (61.3%) from Kasur, 46 (42.5%) from Rawalpindi, and 36 (31.5%) from Muzaffargarh. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that 18S rRNA sequences of H. canis from this study clustered in three clades with those of H. canis from previously published studies to the exclusion of all other Hepatozoon spp. included in the analysis. This study provides the first insight into H. canis from farm dogs in Pakistan. Furthermore, it lays a foundation for future studies of the parasite to assess the impact of canine hepatozoonosis in dogs from various agro-ecological zones in Pakistan where pet ownership of dogs is increasing.


Hepatozoon canis 18S rRNA gene molecular characterization Prevalence Dogs Pakistan 



Abdullah S. Ahmad is grateful to the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan for the financial assistance under the International Research Support Initiative Program (IRSIP). We would like to thank Dr. Muhammad Luqman Sohail (The Islamia University, Bahawalpur, Pakistan) for his assistance in sample collection.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the animal ethics committee of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

436_2018_5790_MOESM1_ESM.docx (20 kb)
Supplementary fig. 1 (DOCX 19 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Veterinary Biosciences, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural SciencesThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Veterinary SciencesUniversity of Veterinary and Animal SciencesLahorePakistan
  3. 3.Institute of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Faculty of BiosciencesUniversity of Veterinary and Animal SciencesLahorePakistan
  4. 4.The Koret School of Veterinary MedicineThe Hebrew University of JerusalemJerusalemIsrael

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