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Open Access Mycoplasma haemocanis Infection—A Kennel Disease?

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Mycoplasma haemocanis (formerly Haemobartonella canis) is a red blood cell parasite that causes disease mainly in immunosuppressed and splenectomized dogs. Clinical outbreak of the disease resulted in failure of a large experimental project. We aimed to identify whether M. haemocanis has increased prevalence in kennel-raised dogs. In a prospective study, we compared the prevalence of M. haemocanis in whole blood (anti-coagulated by use of EDTA) collected from pet dogs (University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, Ill.; n = 60) with that in blood from dogs raised in three distinct kennels in western Europe (WE; n = 23), eastern Europe (EE; n = 20), and North America (NA; n = 20). Screening included antibody testing and microscopy of blood smears. The presence of M. haemocanis was identified using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for specific DNA of the organism. None of the pet dogs (0%) was test positive for M. haemocanis DNA. Mycoplasma haemocanis was found in dogs tested at all of the kennels. Infection rate in the three kennels was 30, 35, and 87%, respectively (all P < 0.001 versus control, 2-test). Latent infection with M. haemocanis was not a single observation in kennel-raised dogs. Prevalence may be higher than that in a pet dog population. The potential exists for these latent infections to adversely affect or confound research results.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute for Surgical Research and Clinic of Anesthesiology, Klinikum Grosshadern, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany 2: College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, Illinois 61802 3: Institute for Surgical Research, Klinikum Grosshadern, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany 4: Department of Experimental Surgery, University of Széged, Hungary 5: Alomed Veterinary Analytical Laboratories, Radolfzell, Germany

Publication date: August 1, 2004

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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