During 1996 a small, ring-shaped, piroplasm was observed in blood smears from 157 dogs in north-west Spain. None of them had previously been in areas endemic for Babesia gibsoni, which was until recently the only small piroplasm known to parasitise dogs. Haematological and serum biochemistry analyses showed that almost all the dogs had an intense regenerative haemolytic anaemia and that in some cases there was evidence of renal failure. A molecular study was made of a sample of the parasite obtained in June 2000. The phylogenetic analysis showed an identity of 100 per cent with the new piroplasm, provisionally denominated as Theileria annae, and 99 per cent with Babesia microti and B microti-Japan. The results confirm the previous observation of a new form of piroplasm (Theileria annae) which causes disease in dogs in Europe and suggest that it is endemic among the canine population in north-west Spain.
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