Retrospective clinical and molecular analysis of conditioned laboratory dogs (Canis familiaris) with serologic reactions to Ehrlichia canis, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Rickettsia rickettsii

Diana G. Scorpio, Lynn M. Wachtman, Richard S. Tunin, Nicole C. Barat, Justin W. Garyu, J. Stephen Dumler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Dogs are susceptible to different tickborne infections, including members of the Anaplasmataceae (Ehrlichia canis, E. ewingii, E. chaffeensis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, A. platys), Borrelia burgdorferi, and Rickettsia rickettsii. These diseases can manifest with clinical signs including fever, anorexia, malaise, lameness, rash, and bleeding episodes; however, these signs are nonpathognomonic, and infections can occur in the absence of clinical signs. Hematologic abnormalities can include leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, hyperproteinemia and hypergammaglobulinemia. In biomedical research, diseases such as canine monocytic ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever may cause morbidity among exposed dogs and confound research results. Random-source dogs are susceptible to these diseases because of their increased risk of arthropod exposure. Nonpurpose bred, randomly selected conditioned dogs (n = 21) were examined; blood samples were taken for hematology, biochemistry analysis, tickborne pathogen serology, and PCR. Of these, 2 dogs (10% of the population) presented with illness characterized by fever, malaise, lameness, or hemostatic abnormalities, and 15 (71%) had antibodies to one or more tickborne pathogens. No specific hematologic or biochemical differences were apparent between seronegative dogs and seropositive dogs reactive to all 3 pathogens. E. canis and B. burgdorferi PCR of tissues and blood were negative for all dogs. PCR amplification of several Ehrlichia and Anaplasma genes yielded no positive samples. From this cohort of dogs, serologic and molecular results indicate prior exposure without active infection or clinical disease. Exposure to and potential for infection with these bacteria and other pathogens may contribute to blood and tissue alterations that could confound experiments and lead to misinterpretation of data in canine models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science
Volume47
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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