Serological evidence of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis in Iran
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Ehrlichia canis has a worldwide geographic distribution, but little is known about the occurrence of Canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME) in Iran. The current study was carried out to evaluate the seroprevalence and factors associated with a positive antibody response to E. canis in dogs from Kerman city, southeast of Iran. One hundred and twenty-three privately owned dogs were chosen from apparently healthy animals referred to veterinary hospital for health check or vaccination. All dogs were subjected to physical, hematological, and biochemical examinations and serological tests. Indirect immunofluorescence antibody test (IFA) and rapid immunochromatography assay (ICA) used to detect antibodies against E. canis in all sera. The overall seroprevalence of CME was 14.63% which was determined as 13.8% and 10.6% using IFA and ICA, respectively. Hyperglobulinemia (p = 0.001), age (p = 0.005), and elevated alkaline phosphatase (ALP) level (p = 0.02) showed a statistical relationship with seropositivity. Hematological abnormalities did not differ significantly between seronegative and seropositive dogs except for the group with high IFA titer. In blood smears from three infected dogs (16.66%), typical morulae of E. canis were observed in monocytes. All three cases were seropositive for E. canis and displayed obvious hyperglobulinemia, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, anemia, and high ALP level. There was no sex and breed predilection among seropositive dogs. This is the first report that describes serological evidences of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis in southeast of Iran. Additional molecular studies are necessary to confirm E. canis infection and to identify the local strains of the organism.
KeywordsEhrlichia canis Serology Prevalence Iran
The authors are grateful to research council of Shahid Bahonar University for financial supports. We are in debt to Mrs. Talebian for technical help and many veterinary students who supplied us blood samples during the research period.
Conflict of interest
None of the authors of this paper has a financial or personal relationship with other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence or bias the content of the paper.
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