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Serovar-specific prevalence and risk factors for leptospirosis among dogs: 90 cases (1997–2002)

Michael P. Ward BVSc, MSc, MPVM, PhD1, Lynn F. Guptill DVM, PhD, DACVIM2, Annalisa Prahl DVM3, and Ching Ching Wu DVM, PhD4
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2027.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2027.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2027.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2027.

Abstract

Objective—To estimate serovar-specific prevalence of leptospirosis by use of veterinary teaching hospital and laboratory submission data; describe annual and seasonal patterns of leptospirosis; and identify risk factors for age, sex, and breed.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—90 dogs with leptospirosis.

Procedures—Hospital records of dogs examined at Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital with a diagnosis of leptospirosis and laboratory records of dogs from which sera were tested for antibodies against Leptospira spp at Purdue University Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory from 1997 through 2002 were reviewed. The likely infecting Leptospira serovar was identified. Seasonal and annual prevalences were calculated by use of hospital population at risk (hospital cases) or serologic testing submissions (diagnostic laboratory cases). Age-, sex-, and breed-specific risk factors for hospital cases were estimated by odds ratios.

Results—Of the 39 hospitalized dogs identified, 34 had been serologically tested, and 22 of those were infected with Leptospira kirschneri serovar grippotyphosa. Of the 51 diagnostic laboratory cases, 59% had a reciprocal titer ≥ 800 against serovar grippotyphosa. Diagnostic laboratory cases were more common in summer, whereas hospital cases of leptospirosis were more common in fall. Male dogs were at significantly greater risk of leptospirosis than female dogs; and dogs 4 to 6.9 years old were at significantly greater risk than dogs < 1 year old.

Conclusions and Clinical RelevanceL kirschneri serovar grippotyphosa infection was associated with most cases of leptospirosis in dogs. Use of an effective vaccine that includes this serovar is advisable for dogs at risk of leptospirosis. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:1958–1963)

Abstract

Objective—To estimate serovar-specific prevalence of leptospirosis by use of veterinary teaching hospital and laboratory submission data; describe annual and seasonal patterns of leptospirosis; and identify risk factors for age, sex, and breed.

Design—Retrospective study.

Animals—90 dogs with leptospirosis.

Procedures—Hospital records of dogs examined at Purdue University Veterinary Teaching Hospital with a diagnosis of leptospirosis and laboratory records of dogs from which sera were tested for antibodies against Leptospira spp at Purdue University Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory from 1997 through 2002 were reviewed. The likely infecting Leptospira serovar was identified. Seasonal and annual prevalences were calculated by use of hospital population at risk (hospital cases) or serologic testing submissions (diagnostic laboratory cases). Age-, sex-, and breed-specific risk factors for hospital cases were estimated by odds ratios.

Results—Of the 39 hospitalized dogs identified, 34 had been serologically tested, and 22 of those were infected with Leptospira kirschneri serovar grippotyphosa. Of the 51 diagnostic laboratory cases, 59% had a reciprocal titer ≥ 800 against serovar grippotyphosa. Diagnostic laboratory cases were more common in summer, whereas hospital cases of leptospirosis were more common in fall. Male dogs were at significantly greater risk of leptospirosis than female dogs; and dogs 4 to 6.9 years old were at significantly greater risk than dogs < 1 year old.

Conclusions and Clinical RelevanceL kirschneri serovar grippotyphosa infection was associated with most cases of leptospirosis in dogs. Use of an effective vaccine that includes this serovar is advisable for dogs at risk of leptospirosis. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:1958–1963)