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Molecular evidence of tick-transmitted infections in dogs and cats in the United Kingdom
  2. S. H. Binns, MA, VetMB, MSc, PhD, MRCVS2,
  3. R. J. Birtles, BSc, PhD3,
  4. M. J. Day, BSc, BVMS, PhD, FASM, DECVP, MRCPath, FRCVS1,
  5. R. C. Smithson, BVetMed, MRCVS4 and
  6. M. J. Kenny, BSc, PhD1
  1. 1School of Clinical Veterinary Science, University of Bristol, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS40 5DU
  2. 2Centre for Epidemiology and Risk Analysis, Veterinary Laboratories Agency – Weybridge, New Haw, Addlestone, Weybridge KT15 3NB
  3. 3Department of Veterinary Pathology, University of Liverpool, Leahurst, Neston, Cheshire CH64 7TE
  4. 4Merial Animal Health, Sandringham House, Harlow, Essex CM19 5TG


PCR analysis was used to determine the prevalence of tick-transmitted infections in 120 systemically ill dogs and 60 cats recruited over a period of three months from 52 veterinary practices in the UK. The animals had not travelled outside the UK and had one or more of the following clinical criteria: acute or recurrent pyrexia, anaemia and/or thrombocytopenia, polyarthritis/muscle pain, splenomegaly/lymphadenopathy, and intraocular inflammation with systemic signs. Blood samples from the animals were tested for the presence of DNA from Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and Anaplasma phagocytophilum by using simple PCR targeting. B burgdorferi sensu lato was detected in five dogs and two cats, and A phagocytophilum was detected in one dog and one cat. These results provide the first molecular evidence of naturally occurring B burgdorferi sensu lato infection in cats in the UK and confirm that A phagocytophilum infection is present in cats. There were no statistically significant associations between the infections and the clinical signs shown by the dogs and cats.

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