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Variable-number tandem-repeat analysis of leptospiral DNA isolated from canine urine samples molecularly confirmed to contain pathogenic leptospires

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.
  • | 2 Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To use variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) analysis to determine the infecting serovar and strain for leptospiral DNA isolated from canine urine samples confirmed through PCR testing to contain pathogenic leptospires and to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of microscopic agglutination testing (MAT) for identifying the infecting serogroup.

DESIGN Diagnostic survey and test evaluation.

SAMPLE Leptospiral DNA isolated from urine samples from 98 dogs confirmed through PCR testing to have pathogenic leptospires in their urine.

PROCEDURES VNTR analysis of DNA isolates was performed to identify the infecting leptospiral serovar and strain by use of primer pairs for the loci 4, 7, 10, and Lb5. Eighteen pathogenic and 2 saprophytic leptospiral serovars were used as reference strains for VNTR analysis. Results of MAT were compared with those of the PCR assay and VNTR analysis to determine the sensitivity and specificity of MAT for diagnosing leptospirosis and identifying the infecting serovar at various reciprocal titers.

RESULTS VNTR analysis identified Leptospira kirschneri serovar Grippotyphosa strain DF as the most common infecting serovar in dogs (78/98 [80%]). Thirteen unique VNTR patterns could not be identified by comparison with the Leptospira reference strains used. The MAT had a maximum sensitivity of 41% and a specificity of 100% for identifying Grippotyphosa as the infecting serogroup.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Findings confirmed the importance of Leptospira serovar Grippotyphosa among dogs in the United States. Serologic testing had poor sensitivity for identifying the infecting serogroup, and conclusions about emerging serogroups should be cautiously interpreted when serologic data are reported.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To use variable-number tandem-repeat (VNTR) analysis to determine the infecting serovar and strain for leptospiral DNA isolated from canine urine samples confirmed through PCR testing to contain pathogenic leptospires and to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of microscopic agglutination testing (MAT) for identifying the infecting serogroup.

DESIGN Diagnostic survey and test evaluation.

SAMPLE Leptospiral DNA isolated from urine samples from 98 dogs confirmed through PCR testing to have pathogenic leptospires in their urine.

PROCEDURES VNTR analysis of DNA isolates was performed to identify the infecting leptospiral serovar and strain by use of primer pairs for the loci 4, 7, 10, and Lb5. Eighteen pathogenic and 2 saprophytic leptospiral serovars were used as reference strains for VNTR analysis. Results of MAT were compared with those of the PCR assay and VNTR analysis to determine the sensitivity and specificity of MAT for diagnosing leptospirosis and identifying the infecting serovar at various reciprocal titers.

RESULTS VNTR analysis identified Leptospira kirschneri serovar Grippotyphosa strain DF as the most common infecting serovar in dogs (78/98 [80%]). Thirteen unique VNTR patterns could not be identified by comparison with the Leptospira reference strains used. The MAT had a maximum sensitivity of 41% and a specificity of 100% for identifying Grippotyphosa as the infecting serogroup.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Findings confirmed the importance of Leptospira serovar Grippotyphosa among dogs in the United States. Serologic testing had poor sensitivity for identifying the infecting serogroup, and conclusions about emerging serogroups should be cautiously interpreted when serologic data are reported.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Table S1 (PDF 30 kb)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Harkin (harkin@vet.k-state.edu).