01220-A: Determination of Leishmania infantum Infection Rates in U.S. Foxhounds and Neapolitan Mastiffs via Serology and qPCR and Survey of Risk Factors for Visceral Leishmaniasis
Grant Status: Closed
Project SummaryPotentially fatal Leishmania infantum infection in canines is gradually gaining a foothold in a handful of U.S. canine breeds, including Foxhounds, Italian Spinones, Neapolitan Mastiffs and Corsicas. Although some breed groups, including Spinones, have been very proactive in testing and eliminating risk of disease, for other breeds, particularly Neapolitan Mastiffs and Foxhounds the epidemiology of this infectious disease in the U.S. population previously was not well understood or had not been studied at all. L. infantum is the causative agent of Canine Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL), a sand fly-borne disease found in dogs of the Mediterranean basin. Dog breeds originating from this area may be susceptible to disease due to mom to pup transmission. As a part of this research was to determine the risk for disease in Neapolitan Mastiffs, a breed originating from an endemic country, Italy. The researchers found that almost 33% of dogs in the high risk Foxhound population acquired disease within the last year. They additionally found that roughly 3% of the sampled Neapolitan Mastiffs were positive for disease and an additional 11% had qPCR evidence of possible detection that required a follow-up sample to determine if it was a true positive test. Mom to pup transmission appeared to the main means of transmission, so testing of bitches prior to breeding is essential. There are no viable vaccine options for VL and current pharmaceuticals for this disease temporarily decrease clinical symptoms of disease, but do not lead to cure. The long-term goal is to prevent canine visceral leishmaniasis through identification and validation of specific factors as vaccine candidates which prevents clinical disease.
Publication(s)Petersen, C.A. (2009) "New means of Canine Leishmaniasis transmission in North America; the possibility of transmission to humans still unknown." Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases, Article ID 802712, 5 pages. (doi:10.1155/2009/802712). Petersen, C.A. (2009) "Leishmaniasis: An Emerging Disease Found in Companion Animals in the United States." Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, Nov;24(4):182-8. Boggiatto, M.P., Ramer-Tait, A.E., Gallup, J., Gibson-Corley, K. N., Metz, K., Kramer, E. E., Hostetter, J.M., Jones, D.E., Petersen, C.A. (2010) "Immunologic indicators of clinical progression during canine Leishmania infantum infection." Clin. Vacc. Immunol., 17(2) 267-73.
Help Future Generations of Dogs
Participate in canine health research by providing samples or by enrolling in a clinical trial. Samples are needed from healthy dogs and dogs affected by specific diseases.