An 11-year-old castrated Pekinese dog that had been moved from Indonesia to Japan eight years previously was diagnosed with an Ehrlichia canis infection by haematological characteristics (normocytic anaemia, mild thrombocytopenia and hypergammaglobulinaemia) and serological findings (antibody titre to E canis 1:3200 or more). The dog did not respond to treatment with tetracycline and died from renal failure. The diagnosis was confirmed postmortem by pathological evaluation and polymerase chain reaction (PcR) followed by sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Typical morulae of Ehrlichia were detected in the cytoplasm of macrophages in spleen tissue by immunohistological staining. Ehrlichia-like organisms were also detected in the spleen by electron microscopy. E canis-specific PCR analysis of DNA extracted from the spleen gave a positive signal, and sequence analysis of the fragment revealed that it was identical to part of the 16S rRNA gene of E canis. The dog was the first confirmed clinical case of E canis infection in Japan.
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