Four 5 mo old captive raised coyotes (Canis latrans) were experimentally inoculated with approximately 1×106 Babesia gibsoni organisms. Parasites were detected 1 wk post-inoculation in all coyotes with maximum parasitemia of 8–11% occurring at 3–4 wk. Parasitemias remained at or above 1% for at least 12 wk and were still detectable 20 wk post-inoculation. All experimentally infected coyotes developed pale mucous membranes, splenomegaly, and a positive heme reaction in urine while one coyote exhibited mild depression and inappetence. Infected coyotes also developed a regenerative anemia, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia. The mild clinical signs coupled with the high level and long duration of parasitemia indicate that coyotes could serve as reservoirs for B. gibsoni. Entrance of this foreign parasite into the United States suggests the need for strict quarantines and thorough health and blood film examinations for imported animals.
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Vol. 39 • No. 4