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Enteropathogens identified in dogs entering a Florida animal shelter with normal feces or diarrhea

Tiffany TuplerMaddie's Shelter Medicine Program, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Julie K. LevyMaddie's Shelter Medicine Program, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Stephanie J. SabshinMaddie's Shelter Medicine Program, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Sylvia J. TuckerMaddie's Shelter Medicine Program, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Ellis C. GreinerDepartment of Infectious Diseases and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Christian M. LeuteneggerIDEXX Laboratories Inc, 2825 KOVR Dr, West Sacramento, CA 95605.

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Abstract

Objective—To determine the frequency of enteropathogens in dogs entering an animal shelter with normal feces or diarrhea.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—100 dogs evaluated at an open-admission municipal animal shelter in Florida.

Procedures—Fecal samples were collected within 24 hours after admission from 50 dogs with normal feces and 50 dogs with diarrhea. Feces were tested by fecal flotation, antigen testing, PCR assay, and electron microscopy for selected enteropathogens.

Results—13 enteropathogens were identified. Dogs with diarrhea were significantly more likely to be infected with ≥ 1 enteropathogens (96%) than were dogs with normal feces (78%). Only Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin A gene was significantly more common in dogs with diarrhea (64%) than in dogs with normal feces (40%). Other enteropathogens identified in dogs with and without diarrhea included hookworms (58% and 48%, respectively), Giardia spp (22% and 16%, respectively), canine enteric coronavirus (2% and 18%, respectively), whipworms (12% and 8%, respectively), Cryptosporidium spp (12% and 2%, respectively), ascarids (8% and 8%, respectively), Salmonella spp (2% and 6%, respectively), Cystoisospora spp (2% and 4%, respectively), canine distemper virus (8% and 0%, respectively), Dipylidium caninum (2% and 2%, respectively), canine parvovirus (2% and 2%, respectively), and rotavirus (2% and 0%, respectively).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dogs entered the shelter with a variety of enteropathogens, many of which are pathogenic or zoonotic. Most infections were not associated with diarrhea or any specific dog characteristics, making it difficult to predict the risk of nfection for individual animals. Guidelines for preventive measures and empirical treatments that are logistically and financially feasible for use in shelters should be developed for control of the most common and important enteropathogens.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the frequency of enteropathogens in dogs entering an animal shelter with normal feces or diarrhea.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—100 dogs evaluated at an open-admission municipal animal shelter in Florida.

Procedures—Fecal samples were collected within 24 hours after admission from 50 dogs with normal feces and 50 dogs with diarrhea. Feces were tested by fecal flotation, antigen testing, PCR assay, and electron microscopy for selected enteropathogens.

Results—13 enteropathogens were identified. Dogs with diarrhea were significantly more likely to be infected with ≥ 1 enteropathogens (96%) than were dogs with normal feces (78%). Only Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin A gene was significantly more common in dogs with diarrhea (64%) than in dogs with normal feces (40%). Other enteropathogens identified in dogs with and without diarrhea included hookworms (58% and 48%, respectively), Giardia spp (22% and 16%, respectively), canine enteric coronavirus (2% and 18%, respectively), whipworms (12% and 8%, respectively), Cryptosporidium spp (12% and 2%, respectively), ascarids (8% and 8%, respectively), Salmonella spp (2% and 6%, respectively), Cystoisospora spp (2% and 4%, respectively), canine distemper virus (8% and 0%, respectively), Dipylidium caninum (2% and 2%, respectively), canine parvovirus (2% and 2%, respectively), and rotavirus (2% and 0%, respectively).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dogs entered the shelter with a variety of enteropathogens, many of which are pathogenic or zoonotic. Most infections were not associated with diarrhea or any specific dog characteristics, making it difficult to predict the risk of nfection for individual animals. Guidelines for preventive measures and empirical treatments that are logistically and financially feasible for use in shelters should be developed for control of the most common and important enteropathogens.

Contributor Notes

Supported by Maddie's Fund, the Merck-Merial Veterinary Scholars Program, IDEXX Laboratories Inc, and the Kissimmee Diagnostic Laboratory, Division of Animal Industry, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Address correspondence to Dr. Levy (levyjk@ufl.edu).