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Serological and molecular prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, and Ehrlichia species in dogs from Minnesota.

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By Beall MJ, Chandrashekar R, Eberts MD, Cyr KE, Diniz PP, Mainville C, Hegarty BC, Crawford JM, Breitschwerdt EB • • August 1, 2008


A population of 731 naturally exposed pet dogs examined at a private practice in Baxter, Minnesota, an area endemic for Lyme disease and anaplasmosis, was tested by serological and molecular methods for evidence of exposure to or infection with selected vector-borne pathogens. Serum samples were tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Ehrlichia canis antibodies and for Dirofilaria immitis antigen. Blood samples from 273 dogs were also analyzed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for Anaplasma and Ehrlichia species DNA. Based on the owner history and the attending veterinarian's physical examination findings, dogs exhibiting illness compatible with anaplasmosis or borreliosis were considered clinical cases, and their results were compared to the healthy dog population. Antibodies to only A. phagocytophilum were detected in 217 (29%) dogs; to only B. burgdorferi, in 80 (11%) dogs; and seroreactivity to both organisms, in 188 (25%) dogs. Of 89 suspected cases of canine anaplasmosis or borreliosis, A. phagocytophilum or B. burgdorferi antibodies were detected in 22 dogs (25%) and 8 dogs (9%) respectively, whereas antibodies to both organisms were found in 38 dogs (43%). Ehrlichia canis antibodies and D. immitis antigen were each detected in 11 (1.5%) dogs. Anaplasma phagocytophilum DNA was amplified from 7 of 222 (3%) healthy dogs and 19 of 51 (37%) clinical cases. Seroreactivity to both A. phagocytophilum and B. burgdorferi was detected more frequently in suspected cases of anaplasmosis and/or borreliosis than seroreactivity to either organism alone. Based on PCR testing, A. phagocytophilum DNA was more prevalent in suspected cases of anaplasmosis or borreliosis than in healthy dogs from the same region.

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2008 Aug;8(4):455-64. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2007.0236.

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