Molecular detection of Anaplasma platys, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Wolbachia sp. but not Ehrlichia canis in Croatian dogs
Knowledge on the epidemiology of parasitic and vector-borne infections is still very limited for Albania, a country located in the Balkan Peninsula in southeast Europe. Recent publications indicated prevalence rates of up to 52 % for vector-borne infections in less-cared dogs in Albania. To provide data on the epidemiological situation in dogs under veterinary care, a total of 602 client-owned dogs presented to four small animal clinics between March 2010 and April 2011 in Tirana, Albania, were screened by examination of Giemsa-stained blood smears, PCR, and serological methods for the presence of arthropod-borne infections, as well as Neospora caninum and Toxoplasma gondii. Eight different pathogens, namely Babesia vogeli, Hepatozoon canis, Leishmania infantum, Dirofilaria immitis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Anaplasma platys, Ehrlichia canis, and Mycoplasma haemocanis, were detected by direct methods with prevalence rates ranging from 1 to 9 %. Seroprevalence for Babesia spp., L. infantum, Anaplasma spp., and E. canis were 6.6, 5.1, 24.1, and 20.8 %, respectively. Dogs >1 year of age were positive for vector-borne infections significantly more often than younger dogs (p = 0.003). More than half (51.7 %) of the dogs were seroreactive to T. gondii and 18.3 % to N. caninum. This is the first report on the detection of A. phagocytophilum, A. platys, E. canis, and M. haemocanis by PCR as well as the serological confirmation of exposure of dogs to N. caninum and T. gondii in Albania. The spectrum of pathogens and the seroprevalences for N. caninum and T. gondii in client-owned dogs from Tirana, Albania, are comparable to that reported in other countries in the Mediterranean Basin. The prevalence rates of vector-borne pathogens are at the lower range of that reported in studies from this geographical region. This is probably due to increased awareness of the owners of pet dogs, including better husbandry conditions and ectoparasiticidal treatment, thus limiting exposure of dogs to vectors.