To compare the performance of 5 synthetic peptide–based ELISAs with that of 3 commercially available immunofluorescent assays (IFAs) for serologic diagnosis of anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis in dogs.
A convenience set of 109 serum samples obtained before and at various times after inoculation for 23 dogs that were experimentally infected with Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Anaplasma platys, Ehrlichia canis, Ehrlichia chaffeensis, or Ehrlichia ewingii and 1 uninfected control dog in previous studies.
All serum samples were assessed with 5 synthetic peptide–based ELISAs designed to detect antibodies against A phagocytophilum, A platys, E canis, E chaffeensis, and E ewingii and 3 whole organism–based IFAs designed to detect antibodies against A phagocytophilum, E canis, and E chaffeensis. The species-specific seroreactivity, cross-reactivity with the other tick-borne pathogens (TBPs), and diagnostic sensitivity and specificity were calculated for each assay and compared among assays.
All serum samples obtained from dogs experimentally infected with a TBP yielded positive results on a serologic assay specific for that pathogen. In general, sensitivity was comparable between ELISAs and IFAs and tended to increase with duration after inoculation. Compared with the IFAs, the corresponding ELISAs were highly specific and rarely cross-reacted with antibodies against other TBPs.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE
Results suggested that peptide-based ELISAs had enhanced specificity relative to whole organism–based IFAs for detection of antibodies against Anaplasma and Ehrlichia spp, which should facilitate accurate diagnosis and may help detect dogs coinfected with multiple TBPs.
Objective—To evaluate the performance of an in-clinic ELISA designed for detection of heartworm antigen and antibodies against 5 tick-borne pathogens.
Sample—1,601 serum or matched serum, plasma, and blood samples from dogs.
Procedures—Samples were tested for Dirofilaria immitis (heartworm) antigen and antibodies against Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Anaplasma platys, Borrelia burgdorferi, Ehrlichia canis, and Ehrlichia ewingii by means of an in-clinic ELISA. Evaluation of assay sensitivity and specificity, agreement of results among sample types, and cross-reactivity of E canis antigens in the assay with anti–Ehrlichia chaffeensis antibodies in stored samples from experimentally infected dogs were performed at a reference laboratory. Field tests of the in-clinic ELISA were performed at 6 veterinary facilities. Results were compared with confirmatory test results.
Results—Sensitivity and specificity of the in-clinic ELISA were > 89% for detection of antibodies against A phagocytophilum (93.2% and 99.2%, respectively), A platys (89.2% and 99.2%, respectively), B burgdorferi (96.7% and 98.8%, respectively), E canis (97.8% and 92.3%, respectively), and E ewingii (96.5% and 93.9%, respectively). Sensitivity of the assay for detection of D immitis was 98.9%, with 99.3% specificity. The in-clinic ELISA identified exposure to > 1 vector-borne pathogen in 354 of 1,195 samples. Cross-reactivity of E canis antigens with anti–E chaffeensis antibodies was confirmed. Results of field evaluations confirmed that the in-clinic ELISA could be reliably used under typical clinical conditions to identify dogs exposed to the pathogens of interest.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The in-clinic ELISA provided a comprehensive in-house serologic screening test for all vector-borne pathogens evaluated.