Efficacy of Azithromycin and Compounded Atovaquone for Treatment of Babesia gibsoni in Dogs.

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Approximately one-third of dogs confiscated during dogfighting investigations are infected with Babesia gibsoni. Traditional management of B. gibsoni with polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-screening, treatment with commercially available azithromycin and atovaquone, and PCR testing after 60 and 90 days is costly and impractical for large numbers of dogs at a time.


To assess the efficacy of an alternative protocol in which commercial atovaquone was replaced by compounded medication and PCR monitoring was initiated at 30 days after the end of treatment to decrease the total management time.


Prospective observational study. Forty-two pit bull-type dogs confiscated as part of an investigation of dogfighting, diagnosed with B. gibsoni infection, and judged to be suitable for adoption were treated with azithromycin (10 mg/kg PO q24h) and compounded atovaquone (13.4 mg/kg PO q8h with a fatty meal) for 10 days. PCR testing was repeated at 30 and 60 days after end of treatment if dogs with positive PCR tests at either time were tested at 90 days. Treatment was considered successful; 2 PCR tests 30 days apart were negative.


Treatment was successful in 39 dogs (93%) as defined by 2 consecutive PCR-negative test results 30 days apart. In 38 dogs (90%), PCR results were the same at 30 and 60 days.


Use of compounded atovaquone and a reduced monitoring period can reduce costs and holding times without compromising treatment efficacy. This more economical protocol can remove barriers to mass screening and management of B. gibsoni infections in dogfighting cases.

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