Canine vector-borne infections in Mauritius

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Abstract

Background: Canine vector-borne diseases have a worldwide distribution, but to the best of our knowledge, no research has been carried out to evaluate their presence on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius. An investigation into canine vector-borne infections was conducted in dogs (n = 78) resident at an animal shelter in Port Louis, Mauritius using a combination of traditional microscopy and serological methods. Methods: Ticks were manually collected from the stray dog population for identification as well as for quantifying tick burdens. Blood was also collected from each dog via either the jugular vein or the cephalic vein, and was stored in EDTA tubes. The stored blood was then used to measure PCV values, make blood smears for the identification of parasites, and used for serological testing of vector-borne disease. Results: A total of 178 ticks were collected from 52 dogs and identified as Rhipicephalus sanguineus (175/178) or Amblyomma variegatum (3/178). Twenty-six (33%; 95% CI 23, 45) dogs were seropositive for Ehrlichia spp., and 12 (15%; 95% CI 8, 25) for Anaplasma spp., Dirofilaria antigen was detected in 14 (18%; 95% CI 10, 28), and nine (12%; 95% CI 5, 21) dogs had Hepatozoon canis gamonts observed in blood films during microscopic examination. Eleven (14%; 95% CI 7, 24) dogs were co-infected with two pathogens. Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies were not detected in any dogs. Conclusions: Infection with these pathogens had no significant effect on the packed cell volume (PCV), but high tick burdens were significantly associated with the presence of a tick-borne pathogen. This is the first study of its kind on the dog population in Mauritius and demonstrates the presence of previously undocumented canine vector-borne infections on the island. The relatively high proportion of infected dogs within the study should alert clinicians to the presence of canine vector-borne diseases on the island of Mauritius.

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Lee, G. K. C., Ignace, J. A. E., Robertson, I. D., & Irwin, P. J. (2015). Canine vector-borne infections in Mauritius. Parasites and Vectors, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-015-0790-9

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