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Vet. Res.
Volume 35, Number 5, September-October 2004
Page(s) 585 - 595
How to cite this article Vet. Res. (2004) 585-595
Vet. Res. 35 (2004) 585-595
DOI: 10.1051/vetres:2004034

Bartonella henselae IgG antibodies are prevalent in dogs from southeastern USA

Laia Solano-Gallego, Julie Bradley, Barbara Hegarty, Betsy Sigmon and Edward Breitschwerdt

Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University (NCSU), 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606, USA

(Received 2 February 2004; accepted 30 March 2004)

Abstract - In contrast to the large body of literature regarding Bartonella henselae in humans and cats, there is little information about B. henselae as an infectious agent in dogs. Due to the paucity of information regarding the B. henselae serology in dogs, we performed a cross-sectional serosurvey using B. henselae antigen in order to compare the seroprevalence between sick and healthy dogs from the south-eastern USA. Ninety-nine sera were collected from clinically healthy dogs. Three hundred and one sera from sick dogs were submitted to North Carolina State University for serologic screening against a panel of arthropod-transmitted organisms. Serological tests were performed using B. henselae (Bh), Rickettsia rickettsii (Rr), Ehrlichia canis (Ec), Bartonella vinsonii subspecies berkhoffii (Bvb), Babesia canis (Bc) and Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) antigens. Serum B. henselae IgG antibodies were detected in 10.1% of healthy dogs and in 27.2% of sick dogs. The difference in seroprevalence between the two groups was statistically significant. The majority of seroreactive dogs (80%) had low titers of 1:64 or 1:128. In healthy dogs, seroprevalence for Rr was 14.1% and for Bvb was 1%. In sick dogs, Rr seroprevalence was 29.7%, Ec 6.5%, Bvb 4.7%, Bb 1.7% and Bc was 0.85%. Of the sick dogs that were seroreactive to B. henselae antigens, 40.6% were also seroreactive to Rr, 15.0% reactive to Bvb antigens, 14.8% reactive to Ec antigens, 1.8% reactive to Bc antigens and 1.75% reactive to Bb antigens. Sera from dogs experimentally infected with B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii, E. canis or R. rickettsii did not cross react with B. henselae antigens, by IFA testing. This study indicates that B. henselae IgG antibodies are prevalent in healthy and sick dogs living in the south-eastern USA. Nevertheless, further studies are needed to evaluate the epidemiological, clinical and zoonotic relevance of B. henselae infection in dogs.

Key words: Bartonella henselae / dog / serology / vector-borne diseases

Corresponding author: Edward Breitschwerdt

© INRA, EDP Sciences 2004

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