Bartonella henselae infection in a dog with recalcitrant ineffective erythropoiesis.

Randell MG, et al. Vet Clin Pathol. 2018. Feb 2. doi: 10.1111/vcp.12575. [Epub ahead of print]

Randell MG1, Balakrishnan N2,3, Gunn-Christie R4, Mackin A5, Breitschwerdt EB2,3.


Ineffective erythropoiesis was diagnosed in an 8-year-old male castrated Labrador Retriever. Despite treatment with immunosuppressive therapy for suspected immune-mediated erythrocyte maturation arrest, resolution of the nonregenerative anemia was not achieved. Following documentation of Bartonella henselae bacteremia by Bartonella alpha proteobacteria growth medium (BAPGM) enrichment blood culture, immunosuppressive therapy was discontinued, and the anemia resolved following prolonged antibiotic therapy. Bartonella immunofluorescent antibody testing was negative, whereas B henselae western blot was consistently positive. The contribution of B henselae bacteremia to ineffective erythropoiesis remains unknown; however, the potential role of B henselae in the pathophysiology of bone marrow dyscrasias warrants additional investigation.



All I could think of when I read this article was, “You lucky dog.”  How many Lyme/MSIDS patients have anemia due to an undiagnosed Bartonella infection?  Hard to say, but I’ll bet there’s a lot out here in Lyme-land.

Notice this lucky dog gets Dr. Breitschwerdt, the Bart Guru, taking care of him and using his special growth medium to detect Bartonella to begin with.  People don’t even get that.  Then, the lucky dog is put on prolonged antibiotic therapy, directed by someone who knows what he’s doing, and will live another day to chase squirrels.

Can I be a dog, please?