Leptospirosis and immune-mediated hemolytic anemia: A lethal association

Tommaso Furlanello* and Ida Reale


Vet Res Forum. 2019 Summer; 10(3): 261–265.

Published online 2019 Sep 15. doi: 10.30466/vrf.2019.99876.2385


An eight-year old crossbreed dog was referred to San Marco Veterinary Clinic with a history of acute illness presenting a severe hemolytic anemia, and intense icterus most likely immune-mediated condition. Circulating antibodies against red blood cells were detected via flow cytometry, while vector-borne diseases were ruled out because of negative results of serological tests for the most common vector-borne diseases in this case. However, leptospirosis was excluded. This resulted in an unsuccessful immunosuppressive therapy with prednisone, two whole blood transfusions and ultimately death of the patient. Leptospirosis was confirmed by both micro-agglutination test for antibodies and PCR test of urine sample.

Fig. 1

Blood Smear of the examined dog. White arrows: agglutinates, green arrows: large polycromatophils RBCs, black arrows: spherocytes; red arrow: nucleated RBC, blue arrow: band granulocyte neutrophil. The two-segmented neutrophils visible in the picture display foamy and basophilic cytoplasm, as signs of toxicity, (Diff Quik stain; 100×).