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Evidence for Clinical Anaplasmosis and Borreliosis in Cats in Maine

Hoyt, Kris, Chandrashekar, Ramaswamy, Beall, Melissa, Leutenegger, Christian, Lappin, Michael R.
Topics in companion animal medicine 2018 v.33 no.2 pp. 40-44
Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi, Ixodes scapularis, Lyme disease, acaricides, anaplasmosis, antibodies, cats, confidence interval, dogs, doxycycline, medical records, medicine, odds ratio, pets, purchasing, signs and symptoms (animals and humans), Maine
The objectives of this study were to use data from client-owned cats in an Ixodes scapularis endemic area to evaluate for clinical associations with diagnostic test results for Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Borrelia burgdorferi and to provide information from a group of cats with possible borreliosis as the cause of clinical manifestations of disease. All cases were evaluated at one clinic, medical records were evaluated, and sera from all cats were tested using one of two commercially available assays labeled for the use with dog sera (SNAP 4Dx or SNAP 4Dx Plus; IDEXX Laboratories, Westbrook, ME). Of the 159 cats evaluated, 42 cats (26.4%) had clinical signs consistent with A. phagocytophilum or B. burgdorferi infection and 117 cats (73.6%) were apparently healthy. Antibodies against B. burgdorferi or A. phagocytophilum were detected in sera of 18.2% and 6.3% of the 159 cats, respectively. Cats with clinical signs of disease were 4 times more likely to have antibodies against one or both agents than healthy cats (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.7928-8.9246; P = .0007), cats allowed outdoors were 5 times more likely to have antibodies against one or both agents than cats housed exclusively indoors (95% CI 2.0196-12.4497; P = .0005), and cats of owners who purchased acaricides were more likely (odds ratio = .3977) to have antibodies against one or both agents than cats of owners who did not purchase acaricides (95% CI .1659-.9534; P = .0387). The cats in the case series were believed to have B. burgdorferi infection as the most likely cause of illness based on serological testing, select clinical information, and apparent response to administration of doxycycline. The results suggest that both A. phagocytophilum and B. burgdorferi are associated with clinical illness in cats. Owners of cats allowed outdoors should be diligent in the use of acaricides.