Epidemiologic evaluation of the risk factors associated with exposure and seroreactivity to Bartonella vinsonii in dogs

Brandee L. Pappalardo From the Departments of Companion Animal and Special Species Medicine (Pappalardo, York, Peat, Breitschwerdt) and Microbiology, Pathology, and Parasitology (Correa), College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Maria T. Correa From the Departments of Companion Animal and Special Species Medicine (Pappalardo, York, Peat, Breitschwerdt) and Microbiology, Pathology, and Parasitology (Correa), College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Chris C. York From the Departments of Companion Animal and Special Species Medicine (Pappalardo, York, Peat, Breitschwerdt) and Microbiology, Pathology, and Parasitology (Correa), College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Colleen Y. Peat From the Departments of Companion Animal and Special Species Medicine (Pappalardo, York, Peat, Breitschwerdt) and Microbiology, Pathology, and Parasitology (Correa), College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Edward B. Breitschwerdt From the Departments of Companion Animal and Special Species Medicine (Pappalardo, York, Peat, Breitschwerdt) and Microbiology, Pathology, and Parasitology (Correa), College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27606.

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Abstract

Objectives

To determine seroprevalence to Bartonella vinsonii subsp berkhoffii in a population of sick dogs from North Carolina and Virginia and to evaluate potential risk factors associated with increased likelihood of exposure to the organism.

Sample Population

Serum samples from 1,920 sick dogs.

Procedure

An indirect fluorescent antibody assay was performed on each sample, and the end-point antibody titer was recorded. A case (seropositive) was defined as a dog with reciprocal titer ≥ 64, and a control (seronegative) was defined as a dog with reciprocal titer < 16 that was referred within 0 to 3 days of referral of a corresponding case. From this population, 207 dogs (69 cases and 138 controls) were included in a case-control seroepidemiologic study.

Results

3.6% (69/1,920) of the dogs were seropositive to B vinsonii subsp berkhoffii. Results of the casecontrol study indicated that seropositive dogs were more likely to live in rural environments, frequently on a farm, were free to roam the neighborhood, and were considered to be predominantly outdoor dogs. Moreover, seropositive dogs were 14 times more likely to have a history of heavy tick exposure. After analysis of the case-control study, a more detailed examination of banked sera from dogs with known tick exposure was performed. High correlation was found between seroreactivity to B vinsonii and seroreactivity to E canis or B canis (36.0 and 57.1%, respectively). Sera derived from dogs experimentally infected with E canis or R rickettsii did not cross react with B vinsonii antigen.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Several potential risk factors are associated with canine exposure to B vinsonii. Rhipicephalus sanguineus, the tick vector for E canis and B canis, may be involved in B vinsonii transmission among dogs. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:467–471)

Abstract

Objectives

To determine seroprevalence to Bartonella vinsonii subsp berkhoffii in a population of sick dogs from North Carolina and Virginia and to evaluate potential risk factors associated with increased likelihood of exposure to the organism.

Sample Population

Serum samples from 1,920 sick dogs.

Procedure

An indirect fluorescent antibody assay was performed on each sample, and the end-point antibody titer was recorded. A case (seropositive) was defined as a dog with reciprocal titer ≥ 64, and a control (seronegative) was defined as a dog with reciprocal titer < 16 that was referred within 0 to 3 days of referral of a corresponding case. From this population, 207 dogs (69 cases and 138 controls) were included in a case-control seroepidemiologic study.

Results

3.6% (69/1,920) of the dogs were seropositive to B vinsonii subsp berkhoffii. Results of the casecontrol study indicated that seropositive dogs were more likely to live in rural environments, frequently on a farm, were free to roam the neighborhood, and were considered to be predominantly outdoor dogs. Moreover, seropositive dogs were 14 times more likely to have a history of heavy tick exposure. After analysis of the case-control study, a more detailed examination of banked sera from dogs with known tick exposure was performed. High correlation was found between seroreactivity to B vinsonii and seroreactivity to E canis or B canis (36.0 and 57.1%, respectively). Sera derived from dogs experimentally infected with E canis or R rickettsii did not cross react with B vinsonii antigen.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance

Several potential risk factors are associated with canine exposure to B vinsonii. Rhipicephalus sanguineus, the tick vector for E canis and B canis, may be involved in B vinsonii transmission among dogs. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:467–471)

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