Molecular characterization of Hepatozoon canis from farm dogs in Pakistan
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.
KeywordsHepatozoon 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.
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