Seroprevalence of vector-borne pathogens in dogs from Croatia
Canine vector-borne pathogens (VBPs) are a group of globally distributed and rapidly spreading microorganisms transmitted by arthropods. In the present survey, we investigated Anaplasma spp., Ehrlichia canis, Dirofilaria immitis and Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato seroprevalence between three groups of dogs (asymptomatic, suspected and deceased) from continental and coastal regions of Croatia with the commercial point-of-care SNAP®4Dx®Plus for VBPs. The overall prevalence for tested pathogens in dogs was 6.1% with the highest prevalence detected for Anaplasma spp. (4.5%), while the remaining pathogens were found at a prevalence of less than 1% (E. canis 0.6%, B. burgdorferi s.l. 0.4%, D. immitis 0.6%). No statistically significant differences in VBP detection between dog cohorts could be found with the exception of D. immitis in the deceased group. Interestingly, no evidence of D. immitis could be found in the hearts of dogs in this group at necropsy, however. This study provides the first data on the seroprevalence of selected VBPs between dogs of different health statuses in Croatia. The results demonstrate that serological evidence of VBPs alone or in combination with co-infections were found just as frequently in asymptomatic dogs as those with suspected or confirmed evidence of VBP disease, raising questions about the pathogenic potential of these organisms in domesticated dogs.
KeywordsDog Vector-borne pathogens Serology Croatia
We are grateful for the excellent technical support of Marija Stublić and Kristina Skrbin from the Croatian Veterinary Institute. We also wish to acknowledge company VOXA for their kind provision of assays to support the completion of this project.
The research was financed by the Croatian Scientific Foundation Grant number 1957, acronym GENOTICKTRECK.
Compliance with ethical standards
The authors declare that the research complies with current ethical standards and laws of the country where the study was conducted. This study was approved by the institutional ethics committee of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb (permit numbers 251–61-01/139–15-2) and the ethics committee of the Croatian Veterinary Institute (permit 2544 from 26-05-2014).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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