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Objective—To determine the prevalence of antibodies against 6 Leptospira serovars and determine risk factors associated with positive Leptospira titers in healthy client-owned dogs in Michigan.

Design—Cross-sectional study.

Animals—1,241 healthy dogs at least 4 months of age.

Procedures—Dogs were examined by veterinarians at private practices. Vaccinated and unvaccinated dogs were enrolled in the study, which occurred prior to the availability of a 4-serovar (Canicola, Grippotyphosa, Icterohaemorrhagiae, and Pomona) Leptospira vaccine. Sera were tested by use of the microscopic agglutination test to determine antibody titers against Leptospira serovars Bratislava, Canicola, Grippotyphosa, Hardjo, Icterohaemorrhagiae, and Pomona. A questionnaire was used to collect demographic information about each dog to identify risk factors associated with seropositive status.

Results—309 of 1,241 (24.9%) dogs had antibody titers against at least 1 of the 6 Leptospira serovars, which suggested exposure to Leptospira spp. Prevalence of antibodies was highest to serovar Grippotyphosa, followed by Bratislava, Canicola, Icterohaemorrhagiae, and Pomona. Age, travel outside Michigan, exercise outside fenced yards, and exposure to livestock and wildlife were significant risk factors for positive titers.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Among healthy dogs from the lower peninsula of Michigan, > 20% have antibodies against leptospiral serovars historically considered uncommon but more recently incriminated as causing clinical canine leptospirosis. Wildlife and livestock may be of increasing importance as reservoirs for canine leptospirosis as urbanization continues to occur. Expanded vaccination strategies may partially mitigate these trends.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To address the limitations of traditional IACUC review of clinical research studies involving client-owned animals, the AVMA issued a policy describing the use of a veterinary clinical studies committee (VCSC), analogous to an institutional review board, as a way to ensure the adequate review and oversight of such studies. While IACUC composition, review, approval processes, and responsibilities are well established, uniform guidance for VCSCs is not readily available and not included in the guidance for IACUCs. In this manuscript we describe suggested best practices for scientific and ethical review of veterinary clinical research studies, regardless of the specific research setting. This resource complements the AVMA policy mentioned above by providing additional thoughts on aspects of VCSCs, including considerations necessary for the adequate review and oversight of clinical research studies using client-owned animals by VCSCs or IACUCs.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association