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Schäfer, Ingo; Volkmann, Maria; Beelitz, Pamela; Merle, Roswitha; Müller, Elisabeth and Kohn, Barbara (2019): Retrospective evaluation of vector-borne infections in dogs imported from the Mediterranean region and southeastern Europe (2007-2015). In: Parasites & Vectors, Vol. 12, 30

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BackgroundCanine vector-borne infections have gained importance in Germany due to growing tourist traffic and an increased import of dogs from abroad. Endemic regions for pathogens such as Leishmania infantum, Hepatozoon canis, Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma platys and Dirofilaria spp. are the Mediterranean area and southeastern Europe. Babesia species and Anaplasma phagocytophilum are present all over Europe. The objective of this retrospective study was to evaluate the prevalence of vector-borne infections in dogs imported from defined endemic countries in the Mediterranean area and southeastern Europe.MethodsMedical records and laboratory test results of 345 dogs that were imported to Germany from 17 endemic countries and that were presented to the Small Animal Clinic at Freie Universitat Berlin between 2007 and 2015 were retrospectively reviewed. A total of 1368 test results from external laboratories were descriptively analysed including 576 and 792 test results of direct and indirect detection methods, respectively.ResultsOverall, 35% (122/345 dogs) were positive for at least one pathogen. Concurrent infections with two to four pathogens were detected in 8% of the dogs (27/345). The positive results were: L. infantum 21% (66/314 dogs;methods: PCR 20/79, IFAT or ELISA 63/308 dogs), E. canis 16% (45/278 dogs;methods: PCR 8/68, IFAT 43/257 dogs), H. canis 11% (3/28 dogs;method: PCR), Babesia spp. 10% (25/251 dogs;methods: Babesia spp. PCR 3/98, B. canis/vogeli IFAT or ELISA 22/214 and B. gibsoni IFAT 0/13 dogs), Dirofilaria spp. 7% (13/178 dogs;methods: D. immitis Ag-ELISA 8/156, Knott's test 7/95, microfilariae PCR 5/23 dogs) and A. platys 5% (1/21 dogs;method: PCR). None of 8 tested dogs were positive in a combined Babesia spp./Hepatozoon spp. PCR test.ConclusionsDogs, which are imported from countries which are endemic for vector-borne infections should be thoroughly tested using direct and indirect detection methods. Potential owners of imported dogs should be informed about the diseases, risks and incubation periods.

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