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Looking for prognosticators in ovine anaplasmosis: discriminant analysis of clinical and haematological parameters in lambs belonging to differently susceptible breeds experimentally infected with Anaplasma ovis

Elena Ciani1, Ingrid Alloggio2, Ferruccio Petazzi2 and Elisa Pieragostini2*

Author Affiliations

1 Dipartimento di Bioscienze, Biotecnologie e Biofarmaceutica, Università degli Studi di Bari, Via Amendola 165/A, 70126 Bari, Italy

2 Dipartimento dell’Emergenza e dei Trapianti di Organi - Unità di Cliniche Veterinarie e Produzioni Animali, Università degli Studi di Bari, Via Amendola 165/A, 70126 Bari, Italy

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Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 2013, 55:71  doi:10.1186/1751-0147-55-71

Published: 22 September 2013



A study was carried out to evaluate the response of different native sheep breeds to experimental infection with Anaplasma ovis, the most prevalent sheep tick-borne pathogen in Apulia (Southern Italy). Thirty-four lambs belonging to a Northern European breed (Suffolk) and two Southern Italian breeds (Comisana and Altamurana) were infected. Eleven clinical as well as haematological parameters were monitored at different temporal resolutions on the same subjects before and after the infection, resulting in a data set of 435 observations. The present work, aiming to further the research, presents the results of a multivariate analysis carried out to identify which parameters out of the eleven considered are the most reliable parameters to be considered as markers of the disease phenotype as well as prognosticators of practical clinical importance.


Data were analysed by discriminant analysis. Out of the eleven considered variables (red blood cells, packed cell volume, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular haemoglobin, mean corpuscular haemoglobin content, haemoglobin concentration, white blood cells, neutrophils, leukocytes, platelets, rectal temperature), only seven were included in the step-wise model since significantly increasing the Mahlanobis distance between the two closest groups. Both discriminant functions resulted to be highly significant (P < 0.0001) and the percentage of variation accounted for by the first discriminant function was 63.6% of the variance in the grouping variable.


Taken together, the observed results stress the marked differentiation among the three breeds in terms of physio-pathological phenotypes indicating packed cell volume and red blood cell count as the most informative parameters in the routine clinical practice for A. ovis infection in sheep.

Anaplasma ovis; Tolerance to anaplasmosis; Native sheep breeds; Clinical prognosticators