Vector-borne pathogens in dogs from Costa Rica: First molecular description of Babesia vogeli and Hepatozoon canis infections with a high prevalence of monocytic ehrlichiosis and the manifestations of co-infection

Alicia Rojas, Diana Rojas, Víctor Montenegro, Ricardo Gutiérrez, Daniel Yasur-Landau, Gad Baneth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Infection with canine vector-borne pathogens was evaluated in dogs from four different regions of Costa Rica by PCR. Demographic data, clinical signs, packed cell volume values, and the presence of tick infestation were recorded for each dog. Forty seven percent (69/146) of the dogs were infected with at least one pathogen and 12% were co-infected with two pathogens. Ehrlichia canis was detected in 34%, Anaplasma platys in 10%, Babesia vogeli in 8%, and Hepatozoon canis in 7.5% of the blood samples. No infection was detected with Leishmania spp. in blood, skin scrapings or conjunctival swabs. Thirty percent of the dogs presented at least one clinical sign compatible with vector-borne disease, and of those, 66% were infected with a pathogen. Subclinical infections were determined in 58% of the infected dogs including 82% (9/11), 58% (29/50), 42% (5/12) and 36% (5/14) of the dogs with H. canis, E. canis, B. vogeli and A. platys infections, respectively. A distinct relationship was found between infection and anemia. The mean PCV values were 34.4% in dogs with no infection, 31.5% in those who had a single infection and 23% in those with co-infection. Co-infected dogs had significantly lower PCV values compared to non-infected and single-infected dogs (p<. 0.0001). Thirty five percent (51/146) of the dogs were infested with ticks, 82% of them were infested with Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato and 18% with Amblyomma ovale. Dogs infected with A. platys, B. vogeli, or E. canis were significantly associated with R. sanguineus s.l. infestation (p<. 0.029).This is the first description of infections with B. vogeli and H. canis in Costa Rica as well as in Central America. The results of this study indicate that multiple vector-borne pathogens responsible for severe diseases infect dogs in Costa Rica and therefore, increased owner and veterinarian awareness are needed. Moreover, prevention of tick infestation is recommended to decrease the threat of these diseases to the canine population.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)121-128
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Parasitology
Volume199
Issue number3-4
DOIs
StatePublished - 31 Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Amblyomma ovale
  • Babesia vogeli
  • Costa Rica
  • Ehrlichia canis
  • Hepatozoon canis
  • Rhipicephalus sanguineus

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Veterinary
  • Parasitology

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