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Hepatozoon canis: another unwelcome parasitic visitor to the UK
  1. Nicholas Johnson
  1. Animal and Plant Health Agency, Weybridge, Surrey KT15 3NB, UK
  1. e-mail: nick.johnson{at}

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A popular quote of Albert Einstein is the simple maxim ‘nothing happens until something moves’. This certainly seems to be the case for the emergence of vectorborne diseases in domestic dogs in the UK. Every year, thousands of dogs and cats are brought into the UK, providing an opportunity for unwanted pathogens and parasites to enter the country. Some dogs are returnees from short holidays with their owners, others are imported through trade, both legal and illegal, and yet more are brought in by charities after being rescued from abroad.

On the back of this we have seen a continual increase in pathogens brought into the UK, accompanied by the possibility that they could establish in the country. Examples include the importation of dogs infected with babesiosis,1,2 leishmaniosis3 and the introduction of a rabid puppy from Sri Lanka,4 this last case being detected while the dog was in quarantine. A recent letter to Vet Record5 and a paper by Attipa and others summarised on p 716 of this issue highlight the importation of dogs infected with another vectorborne disease – hepatozoonosis.

Canine hepatozoonosis is a parasitic disease that can result in severe lethargy and anaemia. In some cases this can be life-threatening to the dog.7 …

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