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Survey of veterinarians' perceptions of borreliosis in North Carolina

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  • 1 Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, and the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27607.
  • | 2 Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, and the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27607.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the practices and perceptions of veterinarians in North Carolina regarding borreliosis in dogs in various geographic regions of the state.

Design—Cross-sectional survey.

Sample—Data from 208 completed surveys.

Procedures—Surveys were distributed to veterinary clinics throughout North Carolina. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize perceptions pertaining to borreliosis among dogs in North Carolina.

Results—A significantly higher proportion of responding veterinarians believed that borreliosisis was endemic in the coastal (67.2%) and Piedmont (60.9%) areas of North Carolina, compared with more western regions (37.5%). The 3 variables found to be significantly different between the northern and southern regions of the state were the estimated number of borreliosis cases diagnosed by each responding veterinary clinic during the past year, the perception of borreliosis endemicity, and the perceptions related to the likelihood of a dog acquiring borreliosis in the state.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Veterinarians’ perception of the risk of borreliosis in North Carolina was consistent with recent scientific reports pertaining to geographic expansion of borreliosis in the state. As knowledge of the epidemiological features of borreliosis in North Carolina continues to evolve, veterinarians should promote routine screening of dogs for Borrelia burgdorferi exposure as a simple, inexpensive form of surveillance that can be used to better educate their clients on the threat of transmission of borreliosis in this transitional geographic region.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the practices and perceptions of veterinarians in North Carolina regarding borreliosis in dogs in various geographic regions of the state.

Design—Cross-sectional survey.

Sample—Data from 208 completed surveys.

Procedures—Surveys were distributed to veterinary clinics throughout North Carolina. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize perceptions pertaining to borreliosis among dogs in North Carolina.

Results—A significantly higher proportion of responding veterinarians believed that borreliosisis was endemic in the coastal (67.2%) and Piedmont (60.9%) areas of North Carolina, compared with more western regions (37.5%). The 3 variables found to be significantly different between the northern and southern regions of the state were the estimated number of borreliosis cases diagnosed by each responding veterinary clinic during the past year, the perception of borreliosis endemicity, and the perceptions related to the likelihood of a dog acquiring borreliosis in the state.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Veterinarians’ perception of the risk of borreliosis in North Carolina was consistent with recent scientific reports pertaining to geographic expansion of borreliosis in the state. As knowledge of the epidemiological features of borreliosis in North Carolina continues to evolve, veterinarians should promote routine screening of dogs for Borrelia burgdorferi exposure as a simple, inexpensive form of surveillance that can be used to better educate their clients on the threat of transmission of borreliosis in this transitional geographic region.

Contributor Notes

Ms. Pultorak was supported in part by Boehringer-Ingelheim.

Boehringer-Ingelheim had no role in the design of the study or the interpretation of the results.

The authors thank Dr. Melissa Beall for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Breitschwerdt (ed_breitschwerdt@ncsu.edu).