To determine the persistence of Hepatozoon americanum in a naturally infected dog, skeletal muscle biopsies were performed at approximately 6-mo intervals over a period of 5.5 yr, and the samples were examined for presence of lesions of American canine hepatozoonosis (ACH). Nymphal Amblyomma maculatum (Gulf Coast tick) were allowed to feed to repletion on the dog periodically over the 5.5-yr period, and adult ticks were dissected and examined for presence of H. americanum oocysts. With 3 exceptions, the biopsied muscle contained lesions characteristic of ACH; no evidence of infection was found at 36, 54, and 67 mo after the original diagnosis. In every instance, nymphal Gulf Coast ticks became infected, indicating that dogs naturally infected with H. americanum can remain infectious for Gulf Coast ticks for at least 5.5 yr. Skeletal muscle biopsy is a reasonably reliable method of determining whether dogs are infected with the parasite. Xenodiagnosis using nymphal Gulf Coast ticks is an even more sensitive method, but the procedure is practicable only experimentally. Design of prevention and control measures for ACH must take into account knowledge that the parasite can survive in dogs, and presumably other vertebrate host(s), for long periods. Preventing ingestion of Gulf Coast ticks is an effective control measure.

You do not currently have access to this content.