Veterinary journal (London, England : 1997)

Effects of doxycycline on haematology, blood chemistry and peripheral blood lymphocyte subsets of healthy dogs and dogs naturally infected with Ehrlichia canis.

PMID 25957920


Canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME), caused by Ehrlichia canis, is a vector-borne disease with a worldwide distribution. It has been proposed that the pathogenesis, clinical severity and outcome of disease caused by Ehrlichia spp. can be attributed to the immune response rather than to any direct rickettsial effect. Moreover, doxycycline, the antimicrobial of choice for the treatment of CME, has immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory properties associated with blood leukocyte proliferation function, cytokine synthesis, and matrix metalloproteinase activity. In order to assess the potential effects of doxycycline, dependent and independent of its antimicrobial activity, the present study compared changes in haematology, blood chemistry and circulating lymphocyte subpopulations in 12 healthy dogs and 20 dogs with CME after doxycycline therapy. Some changes were recorded only in the CME affected dogs, probably due to the antimicrobial effect of doxycycline. However, increases in mean corpuscular haemoglobin, mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration, platelet count and α2-globulins, and decreased plasma creatinine were observed in both healthy and CME affected dogs. The absolute count of B lymphocytes (CD21(+)) increased initially, but then decreased until the end of the study period in both groups. A potential effect of doxycycline unrelated to its antimicrobial activity against E. canis is suggested, taking into account the results observed both in healthy dogs and in dogs with CME.