02295-A: The Role of Lymphocytes in Canine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis

Grant Status: Open

Grant Amount: $15,000
Dr. Mary Anna Thrall, DVM, MS, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine
July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017
Breed(s): -All Dogs
Research Program Area: Tick-Borne Disease

Abstract

Canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME) is a serious disease of dogs, caused by the intracellular bacteria Ehrlichia canis that is transmitted by a tick bite. There is no vaccine for CME, and the pathophysiology of why the disease is more serious in some dogs is not understood. CME is very common in St. Kitts, home to Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. The large numbers of affected dogs are a valuable resource for studies of this important disease. Lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) appear to be related to the pathophysiology of CME. The investigators will study the types of lymphocytes present in dogs with both mild and severe disease and compare them to non-affected dogs. Lymphocytes will be identified by type as B or T cells using antibody markers for lymphocytes and flow cytometry.

The investigators will determine if an increase in lymphocyte counts (lymphocytosis) is associated with severity of disease, and whether clonality (having a large number of the exact same type of lymphocyte) is associated with severity of disease. Fifty Ehrlichia-positive dogs admitted to Ross University will be evaluated for their number of lymphocytes by blood cell counts, by flow cytometry to determine their lymphocyte subsets, and by PCR and antibody testing for the presence of tick-borne disease. These dogs will be compared to healthy control dogs. The researchers will also evaluate 50 dogs presenting with persistent lymphocytosis and determine the percentage of those dogs that are Ehrlichia positive. The findings of this study will advance understanding of the pathophysiology and diagnosis of ehrlichiosis and lymphocytosis.

Publication(s)

None at this time.

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