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Home » Archive » 2013

TDK conference 2013

Study on Tick infestation and Tick-borne Infections of Dogs in Malta
Licari Elaine - year 6
SzIU, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Department of Zoology and Parasitology
Supervisor: Robert Farkas DVM

Abstract:

No evident information on hard tick infestations and tick-borne pathogens of dogs has been available from Malta. Therefore a study was launched to get up-to-date data about tick infestation of the local dogs and their infections caused by tick-borne pathogens (TBPs). Altogether 99 clinically healthy dogs were inspected between March and July of 2013, in 18 cities and 15 villages located in the islands of Malta and Gozo. The ticks were removed from the dogs and identified. Blood samples were taken for testing some pathogens such as protozoa (Hepatozoon spp. and Babesia spp.) and bacteria (Anaplasma spp. and Ehrlichia spp.) with convential PCR.

Thirty-five (35.3%) dogs were infested with only one tick species, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. Altogether 73 (73.7%) animals were infected with one or more of TBPs. Most of them harboured Anaplasma sp. (72/99, 72.7%) or H. canis (19/99, 19.1%). Six dogs were positive for Babesia sp. and E. canis. Thirteen dogs were co-infected with Anaplasma sp. and H. canis. Co-infection of Babesia sp. and Anaplasma sp. were detected in 3 dogs. Triple infections occurred in 2 dogs. GenBank analysis showed 97-100% homologous to sequences of H. canis, B. vogeli and A. platys.

Based on these data the local veterinarians will benefit in knowing evident information regarding tick species infesting the local dogs and their TBPs. Ultimately helping them in diagnosis, cure of infected animals, and hopefully guiding them in increasing the awareness of owners.

To our knowledge this is the first study on ticks and tick-borne pathogens of dogs in Malta.



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