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Bergmann, Michèle; Englert, Theresa; Stuetzer, Bianca; Hawley, Jennifer R.; Lappin, Michael R.; Hartmann, Katrin (2017): Risk factors of different hemoplasma species infections in cats. In: BMC Veterinary Research 13:52
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Abstract

Background: Hemoplasma species (spp.) commonly cause infections in cats worldwide. However, data on risk factors for infections are limited. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of hemoplasma spp. infections in cats in Southern Germany and to assess risk factors associated with infection. Results: DNA was extracted from blood samples of 479 cats presented to different veterinary hospitals for various reasons. DNA of feline hemoplasmas was amplified by use of a previously reported PCR assay. Direct sequencing was used to confirm all purified amplicons and compared to hemoplasma sequences reported in GenBank. Results were evaluated in relation to the age, sex, housing conditions, feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) status of the cats. The overall hemoplasma prevalence rate was 9.4% (45/479;95% CI: 7.08-12.36). 'Candidatus Mycoplasma (M.) haemominutum' (Mhm) DNA was amplified from 42 samples, M. haemofelis from 2, and M. haemocanis from 1 sample. There was a significantly higher risk of hemoplasma infection in cats from multi-cat households, in outdoor cats, as well as in cats with FIVinfection and in cats with abortive FeLV infection, but not in cats with progressive or regressive FeLV infection. Conclusions: Mhm infection is common in cats in Southern Germany. Higher prevalence in multi-cat households and associations with FeLV infection likely reflect the potential for direct transmission amongst cats. Outdoor access, male gender, and FIV infection are additional risk factors that might relate to aggressive interactions and exposure to vectors.