Detection and analysis of tick-borne infections in communal dogs of northwest Zimbabwe

Authors

  • Melissa A Kennedy University of Tennessee
  • Riley E Thompson Colorado State University
  • Anna McRee Bakker Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
  • Canny Fung Long Island Veterinary Specialist
  • Jessica Dawson Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust
  • Roger Parry Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust
  • Chris Foggin Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust
  • Agricola Odoi University of Tennessee

Abstract

Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) may serve as a reservoir or a sentinel for infectious disease pathogens that can affect human and wildlife health. To understand the role of tick-borne diseases in rural and lesser developed regions, we investigated the prevalence of several tickborne pathogens in communal dogs of Zimbabwe. Blood samples from 225 dogs in northwest
Zimbabwe were assessed by serology for Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Borrelia burgdorferi, and 241 samples were assessed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for Ehrlichia. There was a high seroprevalence (73%) of E. canis-specific antibodies in domestic dogs in northwest Zimbabwe, but follow up analyses via PCR and genetic sequencing indicated only 7.5% of the canines were actively infected with the organism. Whilst indicating that an organism serologically related to E. canis is likely present in the region, this data also shows that the organism is currently present in a relative minority of the domestic dogs in the
region. Its presence as evidenced by both serologic and PCR analysis is significant because of the ‘one health’ paradigm, where humans and wildlife may be affected by the exposure to this pathogen in domestic dogs. Keywords: canine; tick; Southern Africa; Ehrlichia; one health.

Author Biographies

Melissa A Kennedy, University of Tennessee

Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of
Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States of America

Riley E Thompson, Colorado State University

Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America

Anna McRee Bakker, Nashville Zoo at Grassmere

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, Nashville, Tennessee, United States of America and All Pets Health Centre,
Spring Hill, Tennessee, United States of America

Canny Fung, Long Island Veterinary Specialist

Long Island Veterinary Specialist, Plainview, New York, United States of America

Jessica Dawson, Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust

Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Roger Parry, Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust

Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Chris Foggin, Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust

Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Agricola Odoi, University of Tennessee

Department of Biomedical and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of
Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, United States of America

Downloads

Published

2021-12-09

Issue

Section

Original Research