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Lyme Disease (Borreliosis) in Dogs

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2005 Summer;5(2):101-9.

The dog as a sentinel for human infection: prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi C6 antibodies in dogs from southeastern and mid-Atlantic States.

Department of Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine (NCSU-CVM), Raleigh, North Carolina 27606, USA.

Lyme disease is the most frequently reported human vector-associated disease in the United States. Infection occurs after the bite of an Ixodid tick that is infected with Borrelia burgdorferi. Dogs have often been reported to serve as effective sentinel animals to assess the risk of human B. burgdorferi infection. Based on published data of human Lyme disease case numbers and our clinical impressions, we hypothesized that canine exposure to B. burgdorferi would be lower in North Carolina when compared to the exposure in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

To address this hypothesis, we evaluated B. burgdorferi exposure status utilizing a specific and sensitive C6 peptide-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Our convenience sample included 1,666 canine serum samples submitted to the Vector-Borne Disease Diagnostic Laboratory from North Carolina (n = 987), Virginia (n = 472), Maryland (n = 167), and Pennsylvania (n = 40). Comparisons among states were made using the Chisquare test or the Fisher's exact test; p-values were adjusted for multiple comparisons using the Bonferroni correction. A Chi-square test for trend was used to determine if there was an increase in the frequency of seroreactors associated with the geographical origin of the samples.

The proportion of seroreactive dogs in North Carolina was markedly lower (p < 0.008) than that observed in dogs from Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. These results support the hypothesis that B. burgdorferi transmission seems to occur infrequently in North Carolina dogs as compared to dogs residing in other southeastern and mid-Atlantic states. Furthermore, they support the utility of dogs as a sentinel to characterize the risk of B. burgdorferi transmission to humans in a defined geographical location. PMID: 16011425 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Dog & Tick Information & Map of Reported Cases

Click Here for Information on Dogs and Ticks. Great map of reported cases...

The following maps highlight the number of reported positive cases of ehrlichiosis (E. canis), Lyme disease, heartworm disease and anaplasmosis in dogs across all regions of the United States and Canada. Because so many dogs go untested for tick-borne diseases, the actual number of dogs infected by ticks is likely many times higher than what is shown here.

Am J Vet Res. 2005 Nov;66(11):1895-9.

Seroprevalence of antibodies against Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in cats.

Magnarelli LA, Bushmich SL, IJdo JW, Fikrig E.

Department of Entomology, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven 06504, USA.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether cats in the northeastern United States develop serum antibodies against antigens of Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum and whether coinfection with the 2 organisms occurs. SAMPLE POPULATION: Serum samples from 84 healthy cats and 9 cats with lameness, fever, anorexia, or fatigue.

PROCEDURE: Serum antibodies against B. burgdorferi and A. phagocytophilum were measured with an ELISA incorporating a whole-cell preparation or purified recombinant antigens, by means of Western blot analysis, or indirect fluorescent antibody (IFA) staining. RESULTS: ELISA results indicated that 44 of 93 (47%) sera contained antibodies against > or = 3 B. burgdorferi antigens, whereas 43 (46%) were reactive to whole-cell B. burgdorferi.

Serum reactivity to protein 35, VlsE, and outer surface proteins A and F was most common. Seropositivity to > or = 3 antigens occurred at the same rate (5/9) in the 9 ill cats as in the 84 healthy cats (46% [39/84]). Of 13 sera reactive to recombinant antigens, 9 were seropositive as measured by Western blot testing with whole-cell antigen. Seropositivity rates of 30% and 38% were detected for antibodies against A phagocytophilum via IFA and ELISA testing, respectively. Fifteen (16%) sera had antibodies against both pathogens.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Cats living in areas infested by Ixodes scapularis ticks are exposed to B. burgdorferi and A. phagocytophilum and, in some instances, may be coinfected. Most cats appeared healthy. An ELISA incorporating specific recombinant antigens may be used adjunctively with Western blot and other assays to confirm B. burgdorferi and A. phagocytophilum infection in cats. PMID: 16334946 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Vet Ther. 2003 Summer;4(2):172-7.

Evaluation of a canine C6 ELISA Lyme disease test for the determination of the infection status of cats naturally exposed to Borrelia burgdorferi.

Levy SA, O'Connor TP, Hanscom JL, Shields P.

Durham Veterinary Hospital PC, 178 Parmelee Hill Road, Durham, CT 06422, USA.

The efficacy of a commercially available in-office kit (SNAP 3Dx, IDEXX Laboratories) for detection of antibodies directed against an invariable region (IR6) of the B. burgdorferi surface protein VlsE (Vmp-like sequence, Expressed), a surface antigen of the spirochete recognized during active infection has been evaluated in dogs. The present study was conducted to determine whether this in-office test could be useful for detection of antibodies to B. burgdorferi in cats.

Cats owned by clients of a veterinary hospital located in an area hyperendemic for Lyme disease were included in the study. When possible, cats with an outdoor lifestyle, bite wounds, or current tick infestation were recruited for the study to help ensure that animals with a likelihood of exposure to natural infection by B. burgdorferi would be included in the test group.

Of the 24 cats tested, 17 samples were positive for antibodies to B. burgdorferi by the C6 ELISA kit. For all 17 of these samples, a duplicate sample tested by immunofluorescent assay (IFA) was in agreement with the ELISA. Five samples were negative by both assays. Two samples that were negative by the C6 ELISA test had low IFA titers (1:100). One of these two discrepant samples was negative and one was positive for antibodies to B. burgdorferi by the Western blot test.

It was concluded that the C6 ELISA test performed with good agreement with the IFA and Western blot tests for detection of antibody to B. burgdorferi in the majority of cats tested. The test offers the advantages of producing a result rapidly (approximately 8 minutes), and it requires only two drops of serum, plasma, or whole blood.

PMID: 14506593 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1990 Jul 1;197(1):63-6.

Tick parasitism and antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi in cats.

Magnarelli LA, Anderson JF, Levine HR, Levy SA.

Department of Entomology, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, New Haven 06504.

Ticks were removed from naturally infested cats, and serum samples from these cats were tested for antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi. Twenty-two of 93 cats (23.7%) had one or more motile stages of Ixodes dammini attached. Of 2 larvae and 20 nymphs removed from cats, 1 larva and 2 nymphs were infected with B burgdorferi. Spirochetes were not found in tissues of 13 female and 4 male ticks. Ten of 71 serum samples analyzed by indirect fluorescent antibody staining or ELISA contained antibodies to this spirochete. Maximal antibody titers were 1:256 and 1:2,560, respectively. At titers greater than or equal to 1:160 in ELISA, seropositivity ranged from 8.8% (n = 34 sera tested from 34 cats) in May through July to 33.3% (n = 12 cats tested) during February through April.

In clinical studies of 30 cats, there were nearly equal percentages of seropositive cats with limb or joint disorders not accompanied by fever, anorexia, or fatigue (5 of 21 cats) and cats with these signs of illness but lacking lameness (2 of 9 cats.) PMID: 2196252 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Wild Ponies of Assateague Island

J Med Entomol. 1999 Sep;36(5):578-87.

Ticks and antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi from mammals at Cape Hatteras, NC and Assateague Island, MD and VA.

Institute of Arthropodology & Parasitology, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro 30460, USA.

Results of a survey for ixodid ticks and/or serum antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi from 14 species of small to large mammals from eastern coastal areas of the United States are presented. Most samples were obtained from July 1987 through June 1989 (excluding December-March) at 3 locales: Assateague Is. National Seashore, Worcester Co., MD., and Accomack Co., VA. (approximately 38 degrees 05' N 75 degrees 10' W), and Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Dare Co., NC (approximately 35 degrees 30' N 76 degrees 35' W).

Hosts sampled included opossums (Didelphis virginiana), least shrews (Cryptotis parva), gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), raccoons (Procyon lotor), feral cats (Felis sylvestris), feral horses (Equus caballus), sika deer (Cervus nippon), rice rats (Oryzomys palustris), white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus), house mice (Mus musculus), norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) and jumping mice (Zapus hudsonius).

An indirect fluorescent antibody test was used for testing sera from opossums, raccoons, and feral cats; enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays were used for sera from foxes, horses, deer, and house and white-footed mice. Antibodies to B. burgdorferi were found in all species tested from each locale. Seasonal data reinforce the contention that P. leucopus is a suitable sentinel species for B. burgdorferi.

Ticks on hosts included Ixodes scapularis Say, I. texanus Banks, Dermacentor variabilis (Say), D. albipictus (Packard), and Amblyomma americanum (L.). Males comprised approximately 0-22 and 60-81% of Ixodes sp. and Amblyomma-Dermacentor adults collected from hosts, respectively. All stages of A. americanum, adult D. variabilis, and larval I. scapularis were collected from vegetation. The highest seropositivity rate (67%) was recorded for 45 P. leucopus at Assateague during July, approximately 1 mo. after peak nymphal I. scapularis intensity. Borrelia burgdorferi was isolated from 6 nymphal and 12 female I. scapularis collected from P. leucopus and C. nippon, respectively, on Assateague. PMID: 10534951 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1990 Apr 15;196(8):1255-8.

Serologic survey for Borrelia burgdorferi antibody in horses referred to a mid-Atlantic veterinary teaching hospital.

Bernard WV, Cohen D, Bosler E, Zamos D.

Department of Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Kennett Square 19348.

Blood samples obtained from 13 of 100 (13%) and 6 of 91 (7%) horses at the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals in the months of June and October, respectively, had antibody to Borrelia burgdorferi as determined by ELISA. Horses from the states of New York, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were seropositive for B burgdorferi. The frequency of antibody response in horses from New Jersey was greater (P less than 0.05) than the frequency of antibody response in horses from Pennsylvania or that of horses from the other states combined. Statistically significant difference was not found when a comparison was made between horses with serotiter and open diagnosis of neurologic or musculoskeletal disease and horses with negative serotest results and open diagnosis of neurologic or musculoskeletal disease.

PMID: 2332371 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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