The geographic distribution of canine infection with vector-borne
disease agents in the United States appears to be expanding.
To provide an updated assessment of geographic trends in canine infection with Dirofilaria immitis, Borrelia burgdorferi, Ehrlichia spp., and Anaplasma spp., we evaluated results from an average of 3,588,477 dogs tested annually by veterinarians throughout the United States from 2010 – 2012.
As in an earlier summary report, the percent positive test results varied by agent and region, with antigen of D. immitis and antibody to Ehrlichia spp. most commonly identified in the Southeast (2.9% and 3.2%, respectively) and antibody to both B. burgdorferi and Anaplasma spp. most commonly identified in the Northeast (13.3% and 7.1%, respectively) and upper Midwest (4.4% and 3.9%, respectively). Percent positive test results for D. immitis antigen were lower in every region considered, including in the Southeast, than previously reported. Percent positive test results for antibodies to B. burgdorferi and Ehrlichia spp. were higher nationally than previously reported, and, for antibodies to Anaplasma spp., were higher in the Northeast but lower in the Midwest and West, than in the initial report. Annual reports of human cases of
Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and anaplasmosis were associated with percent positive canine test results by state for each respective tick-borne
disease agent (R2=0.701, 0.457, and 0.314, respectively). Within endemic areas, percent positive test results for all three tick-borne agents demonstrated evidence of geographic expansion.
Continued national monitoring of canine test results for vector-borne zoonotic agents is an important tool for accurately mapping the geographic distribution of these agents, and greatly aids our understanding of the veterinary and public health threats they pose.