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Open Access Research

Seropositivity rates for agents of canine vector-borne diseases in Spain: a multicentre study

Guadalupe Miró1*, Ana Montoya1, Xavier Roura2, Rosa Gálvez1 and Angel Sainz3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Animal Health, Veterinary Faculty, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

2 Hospital Clínic Veterinari, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

3 Department of Animal Medicine and Surgery, Veterinary Faculty, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

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Parasites & Vectors 2013, 6:117  doi:10.1186/1756-3305-6-117

Published: 22 April 2013

Abstract

Background

Controlling canine vector-borne diseases (CVBD) is a major concern, since some of these diseases are serious zoonoses. This study was designed to determine seropositivity rates in Spain for agents causing the following five CVBD: leishmaniosis (Leishmania infantum: Li), heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis: Di), ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis: Ec), anaplasmosis (Anaplasma phagocytophilum/Anaplasma platys: An) and Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi: Bb).

Methods

Anti-An, -Bb, and -Ec antibodies and the Di antigen were determined using the 4DX SNAP® Test (IDEXX Laboratories) and anti-L. infantum (Li) antibodies using the Leishmania SNAP® Test (IDEXX Laboratories) in blood and/or serum samples.

Results

Among 1100 dogs examined, overall seropositivity rates were: Li (15.7%), Ec (5%), An (3.1%), Di (1.25%) and Bb (0.4%). While seropositivity towards Bb and Di was similar in all geographic regions, rates were significantly higher in the east of Spain (8.3%) for An, significantly higher in the north (20%) for Ec, and significantly higher in the Southeast (46.6%) and South (27.4%), and significantly lower in the north (0%) for Li.

No statistical associations were observed between sex and the CVBD analyzed (p ≥ 0.05) while the following associations with other variables were detected: a higher seropositivity to Ec (40%) and Bb (6.7%) in dogs under one year of age compared with adults (p < 0.05); and a higher seropositivity to An and Li in dogs that lived outdoors versus indoors (p = 0.01; p < 0.001, respectively). Seropositivity rates of 2.1%, 0%, 1.7%, 0.5% and 4.2% were recorded respectively for An, Bb, Ec, Di and Li in dogs with no clinical signs (n = 556) versus 3.8%, 0.6%, 7.5%, 1.8% and 25.9% for those with signs (n = 507) suggestive of a CVBD.

Conclusion

The data obtained indicate a risk for dogs in Spain of acquiring any of the five CVBD examined. Veterinarians in the different regions should include these diseases in their differential diagnoses and recommend the use of repellents and other prophylactic measures to prevent disease transmission by arthropod vectors. Public health authorities also need to become more involved in the problem, since some of the CVBD examined here also affect humans.

Keywords:
Leishmaniosis; Heartworm; Ehrlichiosis; Anaplasmosis; Lyme disease; Dog