Pets & Animal Issues

When Your Pets Get Tick Sick

Don't Forget- Do A Tick Check!

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]

Animals at Assateague Island- 1999

Wild Ponies of Assateague Island

"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. The highest seropositivity rate (67%) was recorded for 45 P. leucopus at Assateague during July, approximately 1 mo. after peak nymphal I. scapularis intensity."


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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