Hepatozoonosis (Tick-Borne Disease) in Dogs

Hepatozoonosis (Tick-Borne Disease) in Dogs

As a tick-borne disease, Hepatozoonosis results in infection with the protozoan (one-celled organism) known as Hepatozoon americanum. This disease is commonly seen in the southeastern and southern part of the country.

What Are the Symptoms and Types of Hepatozoonosis?

Hepatozoonosis can affect the bones, liver, muscles, spleen, small blood vessels in the heart muscle and the intestinal tract. Symptoms include:

  • Weight loss
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever
  • Heightened sensitivity of the skin and musculature (hyperesthesia) over the back and sides
  • Kidney failure

What Causes Hepatozoonosis?

Hepatozoonosis is carried by the tick Amblyomma maculatum. Canines get infected if they get bitten by an infected tick or if they ingest an infected tick.

How is Hepatozoonosis Treated?

Treatment for Hepatozoonosis is primarily palliative to relieve pain—it may include glucocorticoids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Combination therapy with trimethoprim/sulfa, clindamycin and pyrimethamine can be followed up by long-term therapy with decoquinate.


At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you have questions about hepatozoonosis, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909

Dunlap: 309-439-9522

Dunlap II: 309-413-0527