Search Results

You are looking at 1 - 1 of 1 items for

  • Author or Editor: John M. Gustafson x
  • Refine by Access: All Content x
Clear All Modify Search


To determine whether intrauterine transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi could exist in dogs, 10 female Beagles were inoculated intradermally with approximately 1,000 B burgdorferi on day 1 of proestrus; inoculation was repeated every 2 weeks during the gestation period. Ten female control Beagles were similarly inoculated with phosphate-buffered saline solution. Prior to the start of the study, all females and 3 males used for breeding were seronegative for B burgdorferi on the basis of results of the indirect fluorescent antibody test and immunoblot (western blot) analysis. Similarly, results of culture of blood for B burgdorferi were negative. All 20 of the females were bred naturally. Blood samples were collected weekly for serologic testing and culture. Blood samples were obtained from live pups on day 1 of life, then weekly until pups were 6 weeks old when they were euthanatized. Tissues were obtained for culture and testing by use of polymerase chain reaction (pcr). Of 10 spirochete-inoculated (si) females, 8 became infected with B burgdorferi as evidenced by spirochete culture results and/or pcr-detected B burgdorferi dna in the tissues of females or their pups. Of the 10 si females, 8 delivered litters (3 to 7 pups) that had at least 1 neonatal or 6-week-old pup with B burgdorferi dna-positive tissues (by pcr), and spirochetes were cultured from tissues from pups of 2 litters. Four pups of 3 separate litters (a stillborn, a neonate that survived to 30 minutes of age, a 20- hour-old, and a 48-hour-old) had B burgdorferi-positive tissues (by pcr), and the 20-hour-old pup was also culture-positive, indicating intrauterine infection. Further evidence of intrauterine exposure was the presence of IgM antibodies to B burgdorferi detectable by western blot in 3 of 7 one-day-old pups that did not receive colostrum, indicating a primary immune response. Eight of 10 si females and 10 of 10 control females carried litters to term. Differences between si and control Beagles were seen in the duration of gestation, number of resorptions, and number of dystocias. All control females and pups remained seronegative, culture-negative, and B burgdorfer-inegative throughout the study.

Intrauterine infection by B burgdorferi does occur in dogs and is a potential means by which the spirochete can be transmitted in a breeding population in the absence of a tick vector.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research