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Seroprevalence and risk factors associated with Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma spp., Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, and D. immitis in hunting dogs from southern Italy

Piantedosi, Diego, Neola, Benedetto, D’Alessio, Nicola, Di Prisco, Francesca, Santoro, Mario, Pacifico, Laura, Sgroi, Giovanni, Auletta, Luigi, Buch, Jesse, Chandrashekar, Ramaswamy, Breitschwerdt, Edward B., Veneziano, Vincenzo
Parasitology research 2017 v.116 no.10 pp. 2651-2660
Anaplasma, Borrelia burgdorferi, Dirofilaria immitis, Ehrlichia canis, adults, arthropods, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, fur-bearing animals, hunting dogs, odds ratio, pathogens, regression analysis, relative risk, risk factors, seroprevalence, surveys, sympatry, tick infestations, vector-borne diseases, Italy
Canine vector-borne diseases (CVBDs) are caused by a range of pathogens transmitted to dogs by arthropods. The present study investigates Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma spp., Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, and Dirofilaria immitis seroprevalences in hunting dogs from southern Italy. Dogs (no. 1335) were tested using a commercial in-clinic enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated by logistic regression analysis to identify risk factors. Overall, 138/1335 dogs (10.3%) were seroreactive to at least one CVBD pathogen. E. canis, Anaplasma spp., B. burgdorferi s.l., and D. immitis seroprevalences were 7.6, 4.4, 0.3, and 0.2%, respectively. E. canis and Anaplasma spp. co-exposures were found in 30 dogs (2.2%), compared with Anaplasma spp. and B. burgdorferi s.l. co-exposures in 2 dogs (0.1%). Adult age was a risk factor for E. canis (OR 2.35) seroreactivity whereas hunting fur-bearing animals for E. canis (OR 4.75) and Anaplasma spp. (OR 1.87), respectively. The historical presence of tick infestation was identified as a risk factor for positivity to E. canis (OR 2.08) and Anaplasma spp. (OR 2.15). Finally, larger dog pack size was significantly associated with E. canis (OR 1.85) and Anaplasma spp. (OR 2.42) exposures. The results of the present survey indicated that hunting dog populations are at relative risk of CVBDs in southern Italy. Further studies are needed to evaluate the role of hunting dogs in the epidemiology of vector-borne organisms due to sharing common environments with wild, sympatric animal populations.