Bone marrow aspiration smears from 15 dogs naturally infected with leishmania were evaluated. Three of the dogs showed no clinical signs, six had up to three clinical signs and six had more than three. The most common pathological features of the bone marrow were megakaryocytic dysplasia in 10 of the dogs, erythrophagocytosis in eight, erythroid dysplasia in two and emperipolesis in two. The megakaryocytic and erythroid dysplasia were probably related to an increased number of marrow macrophages producing high levels of tumour necrosis factor α and interferon γ. Six of the dogs with clinical signs showed bone marrow dysplastic features and erythrophagocytosis, suggesting that leishmaniosis could be the unique cause of both conditions.
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