Tick parasitism and antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi in cats

Louis A. Magnarelli From the Department of Entomology, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, PO Box 1106, New Haven, CT 06504 (Magnarelli and Anderson), Quinnipiac College, Hamden, CT 06518 (Levine), and Durham Veterinary Hospital, Durham, CT 06422 (Levy).

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John F. Anderson From the Department of Entomology, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, PO Box 1106, New Haven, CT 06504 (Magnarelli and Anderson), Quinnipiac College, Hamden, CT 06518 (Levine), and Durham Veterinary Hospital, Durham, CT 06422 (Levy).

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Harvey R. Levine From the Department of Entomology, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, PO Box 1106, New Haven, CT 06504 (Magnarelli and Anderson), Quinnipiac College, Hamden, CT 06518 (Levine), and Durham Veterinary Hospital, Durham, CT 06422 (Levy).

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Steven A. Levy From the Department of Entomology, The Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, PO Box 1106, New Haven, CT 06504 (Magnarelli and Anderson), Quinnipiac College, Hamden, CT 06518 (Levine), and Durham Veterinary Hospital, Durham, CT 06422 (Levy).

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Summary

Ticks were removed from naturally infested cats, and serum samples from these cats were tested for antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi. Twenty-two of 93 cats (23.7%) had one or more motile stages of Ixodes dammini attached. Of 2 larvae and 20 nymphs removed from cats, 1 larva and 2 nymphs were infected with B burgdorferi. Spirochetes were not found in tissues of 13 female and 4 male ticks. Ten of 71 serum samples analyzed by indirect fluorescent antibody staining or elisa contained antibodies to this spirochete. Maximal antibody titers were 1:256 and 1:2,560, respectively. At titers ≥1:160 in elisa, seropositivity ranged from 8.8% (n = 34 sera tested from 34 cats) in May through July to 33.3% (n = l2 cats tested) during February through April. In clinical studies of 30 cats, there were nearly equal percentages of seropositive cats with limb or joint disorders not accompanied by fever, anorexia, or fatigue (5 of 21 cats) and cats with these signs of illness but lacking lameness (2 of 9 cats.)

Summary

Ticks were removed from naturally infested cats, and serum samples from these cats were tested for antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi. Twenty-two of 93 cats (23.7%) had one or more motile stages of Ixodes dammini attached. Of 2 larvae and 20 nymphs removed from cats, 1 larva and 2 nymphs were infected with B burgdorferi. Spirochetes were not found in tissues of 13 female and 4 male ticks. Ten of 71 serum samples analyzed by indirect fluorescent antibody staining or elisa contained antibodies to this spirochete. Maximal antibody titers were 1:256 and 1:2,560, respectively. At titers ≥1:160 in elisa, seropositivity ranged from 8.8% (n = 34 sera tested from 34 cats) in May through July to 33.3% (n = l2 cats tested) during February through April. In clinical studies of 30 cats, there were nearly equal percentages of seropositive cats with limb or joint disorders not accompanied by fever, anorexia, or fatigue (5 of 21 cats) and cats with these signs of illness but lacking lameness (2 of 9 cats.)

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