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To ascertain whether dogs are naturally infected with Ehrlichia chaffeensis.


74 dogs from 5 animal shelters and 1 kennel in 3 cities and 3 counties in southeastern Virginia were tested during June 1991.


Blood was drawn from 74 dogs; 73 were tested serologically for antibodies reactive to E chaffeensis and E canis, and 38 were tested for the presence of E chaffeensis, E canis, and E ewingii by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Serologic testing by indirect fluorescent antibody assay. Nested PCR used Ehrlichia-wide outside primers to detect initial products, followed by use of species-specific primers for identification.


28 (38.4%) dogs had a positive test result (minimum titer, ≥ 1:64) for antibodies reactive to E chaffeensis, and 28 (38.4%) had a positive reaction to E canis. PCR analysis indicated that 8 (42.1 %) dogs were positive for E chaffeensis and 6 dogs (31.6%) were positive for E ewingii. All dogs had negative results of the PCR test for E canis.


Dogs are potential reservoirs of E chaffeensis.

Clinical Relevance

Canine E chaffeensis infection may be more prevalent than E canis or E ewingii infection in this region of the United States. (Am J Vet Res 1996;57:1175-1179)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research