Assessment of PCR status of vector-borne pathogens in dogs presenting arrhythmias
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Arrhythmias are frequent and can be caused by many diseases. Vector-borne diseases are increasing in importance as a cause of arrhythmias in veterinary medicine. The objective of the study was to evaluate dogs presenting arrhythmias of any aetiology and to assess the influence of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) status for vector-borne pathogens in the Mediterranean area of Spain. A total of 120 dogs presenting arrhythmias were prospectively selected, and PCR for several vector-borne pathogens (Leishmania infantum, Ehrlichia/Anaplasma spp., Babesia spp., Rickettsia spp., Mycoplasma spp., Hepatozoon canis and Bartonella spp.) were analysed in blood samples. Twenty-four (20 %) dogs had positive results for PCR. Found pathogens were Ehrlichia/Anaplasma spp. (n = 10, 8.3 %), Babesia spp. (n = 7, 5.8 %), Rickettsia spp. (n = 5, 4.2 %), Leishmania spp. (n = 4, 3.3 %), Mycoplasma spp. (n = 4, 3.3 %), and H. canis (n = 1, 0.8 %). No significant differences were found in relation to PCR status and type or cause of the arrhythmia. Although there is a clear association between some infectious diseases and cardiac diseases, this study could not find evidence of the role of infectious agents as triggers for arrhythmias in dogs. More studies are needed to further explore this association.
KeywordsArrhythmias Vector-borne pathogens PCR Dog
This research project was partially funded by Bayer Animal Health Spain. The authors would like to thank all the staff in the Hospital Clínic Veterinari, for their collaboration in collecting these cases.
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