Topic Editors

Laboratory of Parasitology and Parasitic Diseases, School of Veterinary Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University Teaching Veterinary Hospital, Location Piano d'Accio, 64100 Teramo, Italy

Zoonotic Vector-Borne Diseases of Companion Animals

Abstract submission deadline
closed (20 December 2023)
Manuscript submission deadline
20 December 2024
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Topic Information

Dear Colleagues,

Vector-Borne Pathogens (VBP) always held an exceptional place in the concept of One Health. At present, there are several reasons to address the problem of Zoonotic Vector-Borne Diseases (VBD) of Companion Animals with a fresh eye. The constantly increasing number of households that host companion animals, the augmenting diversity of companion animal species, the frequency of animal travel, newly recognized zoonotic VBP, climate change and the re-wilding of cities are some of these reasons. The Topic launched by MDPI, entitled “Zoonotic Vector-Borne Diseases of Companion Animals”, welcomes papers that address any aspect of the problem of VBD of both conventional (e.g., dogs and cats) and nontraditional or exotic companion animals. This Topic aims to update the knowledge about the identity, epidemiology, clinical impact, diagnostic approach, treatment options and zoonotic potential of companion animal zoonotic VBD through the publication of high-quality research and review articles, short communications, and case reports.

Prof. Dr. Anastasia Diakou
Prof. Dr. Donato Traversa
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • companion animals
  • zoonosis
  • vectors

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Animals
animals
3.0 4.2 2011 18.1 Days CHF 2400 Submit
Pathogens
pathogens
3.7 5.1 2012 16.4 Days CHF 2700 Submit
Veterinary Sciences
vetsci
2.4 2.3 2014 19.6 Days CHF 2600 Submit
Zoonotic Diseases
zoonoticdis
- - 2021 27.6 Days CHF 1000 Submit

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Published Papers (8 papers)

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13 pages, 603 KiB  
Article
Ehrlichia canis and Rickettsia conorii Infections in Shelter Dogs: Seropositivity and Implications for Public Health
by Paulo Afonso, Ana Patrícia Lopes, Hélder Quintas, Luís Cardoso and Ana Cláudia Coelho
Pathogens 2024, 13(2), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens13020129 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1558
Abstract
A cross-sectional study was conducted to gain insight into the epidemiology of canine ehrlichiosis and rickettsiosis in northern Portugal. Specific IgG antibodies to Ehrlichia canis were analysed using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and antibodies to Rickettsia conorii were analysed using a [...] Read more.
A cross-sectional study was conducted to gain insight into the epidemiology of canine ehrlichiosis and rickettsiosis in northern Portugal. Specific IgG antibodies to Ehrlichia canis were analysed using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and antibodies to Rickettsia conorii were analysed using a commercial indirect immunofluorescence antibody test (IFAT). A total of 113 dogs from two different shelters were sampled, and seroprevalence values of 0.9% (95% confidence (CI): 0.2–4.8%) for E. canis and 9.7 (95% CI: 5.5–16.6%) for R. conorii were found. Multiple logistic regression investigated risk factors for seropositivity. The odds ratios (ORs) of R. conorii seropositivity were higher for female dogs (OR = 6.429; 95% CI: 1.201–34.407). Dogs seropositive for co-infection (E. canis + R. conorii) were more frequently observed among females (OR = 7.606; CI 95%: 1.478–39.132) and in Shelter 2 (OR = 18.229; 95% CI: 2.190–151.756). These findings show that shelter dogs in northern Portugal are exposed to E. canis and R. conorii, which can affect both canines and humans. It is imperative to adopt a One Health approach to educate the public about the hazards of canine zoonoses and develop legislation and procedures to control their spread and preserve public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Zoonotic Vector-Borne Diseases of Companion Animals)
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14 pages, 1019 KiB  
Article
Zoonotic Microparasites in Invasive Black Rats (Rattus rattus) from Small Islands in Central Italy
by Stefania Zanet, Flavia Occhibove, Dario Capizzi, Sara Fratini, Francesca Giannini, Avner Dan Hoida, Paolo Sposimo, Flaminia Valentini and Ezio Ferroglio
Animals 2023, 13(20), 3279; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13203279 - 20 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1034
Abstract
Invasive species have a detrimental impact on native populations, particularly in island ecosystems, and they pose a potential zoonotic and wildlife threat. Black rats (Rattus rattus) are invasive species that disrupt native flora and fauna on islands and serve as potential [...] Read more.
Invasive species have a detrimental impact on native populations, particularly in island ecosystems, and they pose a potential zoonotic and wildlife threat. Black rats (Rattus rattus) are invasive species that disrupt native flora and fauna on islands and serve as potential competent reservoirs for various pathogens and parasites. Microparasites screening was conducted in rat populations from small islands in central Italy (the Pontine Islands and Pianosa) with the aim of assessing the role of rats in maintaining infections, particularly in cases where key reservoir hosts were scarce or absent. We focused on microparasites of zoonotic and veterinary relevance. A total of 53 rats was kill-trapped and target tissues were analysed with molecular techniques. We observed the absence or very low prevalence of Anaplasma spp., while Babesia was found in rats from all locations, marking the first recorded instance of Babesia divergens in wild rats. Data from Pianosa strongly suggest the presence of an autochthonous Leishmania infantum cycle in the Tuscan archipelago islands. Neospora caninum was absent from all islands, even in areas where dogs, the main reservoirs, were present. Toxoplasma gondii was only recorded on the Pontine Islands, where genotyping is needed to shed light on infection dynamics. This study confirms that invasive species, such as rats, may be responsible for maintaining an increased parasitological threat to fauna and human communities in certain ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Zoonotic Vector-Borne Diseases of Companion Animals)
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20 pages, 1102 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Relationship between Neutrophil Activation and Different States of Canine L. infantum Infection: Nitroblue Tetrazolium Test and IFN-γ
by Carles Blasi-Brugué, Icíar Martínez-Flórez, Marta Baxarias, Joan del Rio-Velasco and Laia Solano-Gallego
Vet. Sci. 2023, 10(9), 572; https://doi.org/10.3390/vetsci10090572 - 13 Sep 2023
Viewed by 2406
Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the role of neutrophils in canine leishmaniosis by assessing neutrophil activation and its relationship with different states of L. infantum infection and antibody and IFN-γ production. Dogs were categorized into five groups: healthy-seronegative (n = 25), healthy-seropositive [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the role of neutrophils in canine leishmaniosis by assessing neutrophil activation and its relationship with different states of L. infantum infection and antibody and IFN-γ production. Dogs were categorized into five groups: healthy-seronegative (n = 25), healthy-seropositive (n = 21), LeishVet-stage I (n = 25), Leishvet-stage II (n = 41), and LeishVet-stage III–IV (n = 16). Results of the nitroblue tetrazolium reduction test (NBT) showed significantly higher neutrophil activation in stage I (median:17.17, range: [7.33–31.50]%) compared to in healthy-seronegative (4.10 [1.20–18.00]%), healthy-seropositive (7.65 [3.98–21.74]%), stage II (6.50 [1.50–28.70]%), and stage III–IV (7.50 [3.00–16.75]%) groups (p < 0.0001). Healthy-seropositive dogs also displayed higher values than all groups except stage I. Stages II and III–IV did not show significant differences compared to healthy-seronegative. Regarding IFN-γ, stage I dogs had higher concentrations (median:127.90, range: [0–3998.00] pg/mL) than healthy-seronegative (0 [0–109.50] pg/mL) (p = 0.0002), stage II (9.00 [0–5086.00] pg/mL) (p = 0.045), and stage III–IV (3.50 [80.00–548.80] pg/mL) (p = 0.02) dogs. Stage II dogs showed increased IFN-γ compared to healthy-seronegative dogs (p = 0.015), while stage III–IV dogs had no significant differences compared to healthy-seronegative dogs (p = 0.12). Healthy-seropositive dogs had elevated IFN-γ concentrations compared to healthy-seronegative dogs (p = 0.001) and dogs in stage III–IV (p = 0.03). In conclusion, neutrophil activation was higher in dogs with mild disease and healthy-seropositive dogs, and a relationship between neutrophil activation and the production of IFN-γ was found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Zoonotic Vector-Borne Diseases of Companion Animals)
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7 pages, 2231 KiB  
Communication
Serological Evidence Supporting the Occurrence of Ehrlichia chaffeensis or a Closely Related Species in Brazilian Dogs
by Isis Indaiara Gonçalves Granjeiro Taques, Andreia Lima Tomé Melo, Mauricio Claudio Horta, Nathalia Assis Pereira and Daniel Moura Aguiar
Pathogens 2023, 12(8), 1024; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens12081024 - 09 Aug 2023
Viewed by 950
Abstract
Ehrlichia chaffeensis is a tick-borne bacterium that causes human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis, an emerging life-threatening disease in humans transmitted by Amblyomma americanum. Although most studies have reported bacterial isolations and clinical cases in the United States, their occurrence is not restricted to North [...] Read more.
Ehrlichia chaffeensis is a tick-borne bacterium that causes human monocytotropic ehrlichiosis, an emerging life-threatening disease in humans transmitted by Amblyomma americanum. Although most studies have reported bacterial isolations and clinical cases in the United States, their occurrence is not restricted to North America. Some studies in the Southern Cone of South America have molecularly detected a close phylogenetic relative of E. chaffeensis in ticks and wild mammals. Even so, many gaps must be filled to confirm the presence of this agent in the region. To add new data on this issue, we report the first detection of specific anti-E. chaffeensis antibodies in dogs collected from all regions of Brazil. By means of IFA and ELISA with crude and specific antigens of E. chaffeensis, sera from 1134 dogs were analyzed. Serological analyses using ELISA showed nine (0.7%) seropositive dogs, with seven of them exhibiting IFA titers ranging from 160 to 5120. All regions of Brazil had at least one seropositive dog. Our results support the evidence for the occurrence of E. chaffeensis in South America. As dogs have a close relationship with humans, they can be used as an environmental sentinel for these infections because they can act as a bridge to human parasitism or infection with ehrlichial agents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Zoonotic Vector-Borne Diseases of Companion Animals)
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13 pages, 1239 KiB  
Article
Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging Detects Myocardial Abnormalities in Naturally Infected Dogs with Chronic Asymptomatic Chagas Disease
by Derek J. Matthews, Ryan C. Fries, Nicholas D. Jeffery, Sarah A. Hamer and Ashley B. Saunders
Animals 2023, 13(8), 1393; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13081393 - 18 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2238
Abstract
Trypanosoma cruzi infection causes inflammation and fibrosis, resulting in cardiac damage in dogs. The objectives of this study were to describe cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) in naturally infected dogs with chronic Chagas disease and the frequency of abnormalities for CMR and cardiac [...] Read more.
Trypanosoma cruzi infection causes inflammation and fibrosis, resulting in cardiac damage in dogs. The objectives of this study were to describe cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) in naturally infected dogs with chronic Chagas disease and the frequency of abnormalities for CMR and cardiac diagnostic tests. Ten asymptomatic, client-owned dogs seropositive for T. cruzi were prospectively enrolled in an observational study evaluating echocardiography, ECG (standard and ambulatory), cardiac troponin I (cTnI), and CMR. Standard ECG measurements (3/10) and cTnI concentration (1/10) outside the reference range were uncommon. Ambulatory ECG abnormalities were documented more frequently (6/10 dogs) than with standard ECG and included ventricular arrhythmias (4), supraventricular premature beats (3), second-degree atrioventricular block (2), and sinus arrest (1). Echocardiographic abnormalities were documented in 6/10 dogs including mildly increased left ventricular internal dimension in diastole (1) and decreased right ventricular (RV) systolic function based on reductions in tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (3) and RV S’ (4). Abnormalities were detected with CMR in 7/10 dogs including delayed myocardial enhancement in 5 of which 2 also had increased extracellular volume, abnormal wall motion in 5, and loss of apical compact myocardium in 1. In conclusion, CMR abnormalities were common, and the results of this study suggest CMR can provide useful information in dogs with T. cruzi infection and may support naturally infected dogs for future clinical investigation as an animal model for Chagas disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Zoonotic Vector-Borne Diseases of Companion Animals)
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13 pages, 766 KiB  
Article
Detection of Rickettsia spp. in Animals and Ticks in Midwestern Brazil, Where Human Cases of Rickettsiosis Were Reported
by Lucianne Cardoso Neves, Warley Vieira de Freitas Paula, Luiza Gabriella Ferreira de Paula, Bianca Barbara Fonseca da Silva, Sarah Alves Dias, Brenda Gomes Pereira, Bruno Sérgio Alves Silva, Anaiá da Paixão Sevá, Filipe Dantas-Torres, Marcelo B. Labruna and Felipe da Silva Krawczak
Animals 2023, 13(8), 1288; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13081288 - 09 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1895
Abstract
Brazilian spotted fever (BSF) is the most important tick-borne diseases affecting humans in Brazil. Cases of BSF have recently been reported in the Goiás state, midwestern Brazil. All cases have been confirmed by reference laboratories by seroconversion to Rickettsia rickettsii antigens. Because serological [...] Read more.
Brazilian spotted fever (BSF) is the most important tick-borne diseases affecting humans in Brazil. Cases of BSF have recently been reported in the Goiás state, midwestern Brazil. All cases have been confirmed by reference laboratories by seroconversion to Rickettsia rickettsii antigens. Because serological cross-reactions among different rickettsial species that belong to the spotted fever group (SFG) are common, the agent responsible for BSF cases in Goiás remains unknown. From March 2020 to April 2022, ticks and plasma were collected from dogs, horses and capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), and from the vegetation in an area where BSF cases have been reported and two areas under epidemiological surveillance in Goiás. Horses were infested by Amblyomma sculptum, Dermacentor nitens and Rhipicephalus microplus; dogs by Rhipicephalus sanguineus sensu lato (s.l.), Amblyomma ovale and A. sculptum, and capybaras by A. sculptum and Amblyomma dubitatum. Adults of A. sculptum, A. dubitatum, Amblyomma rotundatum and immature stages of A. sculptum and A. dubitatum, and Amblyomma spp. were collected from the vegetation. DNA of Rickettsia that did not belong to the SFG was detected in A. dubitatum, which was identified by DNA sequencing as Rickettsia bellii. Seroreactivity to SFG and Rickettsia bellii antigens was detected in 25.4% (42/165) of dogs, 22.7% (10/44) of horses and 41.2% (7/17) of capybaras, with higher titers for R. bellii in dogs and capybaras. The seropositivity of animals to SFG Rickettsia spp. antigens demonstrates the circulation of SFG rickettsiae in the region. Further research is needed to fully determine the agent responsible for rickettsiosis cases in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Zoonotic Vector-Borne Diseases of Companion Animals)
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10 pages, 495 KiB  
Article
Molecular and Serological Detection of Anaplasma phagocytophilum in Dogs from Germany (2008–2020)
by Ingo Schäfer, Barbara Kohn, Cornelia Silaghi, Susanne Fischer, Cedric Marsboom, Guy Hendrickx and Elisabeth Müller
Animals 2023, 13(4), 720; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani13040720 - 17 Feb 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1979
Abstract
Anaplasma phagocytophilum is an obligate intracellular bacterium that causes granulocytic anaplasmosis in domestic animals, wildlife, and humans and is primarily transmitted by ticks of the Ixodes persulcatus complex. This retrospective study aims to determine the percentages of dogs that tested positive for A. [...] Read more.
Anaplasma phagocytophilum is an obligate intracellular bacterium that causes granulocytic anaplasmosis in domestic animals, wildlife, and humans and is primarily transmitted by ticks of the Ixodes persulcatus complex. This retrospective study aims to determine the percentages of dogs that tested positive for A. phagocytophilum in Germany. It included the results of direct (polymerase chain reaction [PCR]) and indirect (immunofluorescence antibody test [IFAT], antibody-enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA]) detection methods performed in the laboratory LABOKLIN on canine samples provided by German veterinarians from 2008 to 2020. Out of a total of 27,368 dogs tested by PCR, 1332 (4.9%) tested positive, while 24,720 (27.4%) of the 90,376 dogs tested by IFAT/ELISA had positive serology. High rates of positive PCR results were observed in months with known peaks in vector activity, showing that the dynamics of A. phagocytophilum infections in dogs in Germany are consistent with vector activity. In dogs with a positive PCR result, peaks in serology could be observed four weeks after initial testing. Male and senior dogs had higher rates of positive serology. A possible impact of environmental factors such as changes in climate should be investigated further. Overall, the upward trend in positive test results over the years indicates that canine granulocytic anaplasmosis will continue to become increasingly important for veterinary medicine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Zoonotic Vector-Borne Diseases of Companion Animals)
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8 pages, 3281 KiB  
Case Report
Linguatula serrata (Fröhlich, 1789) in Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) from Italy: A Neglected Zoonotic Parasite
by Donato Antonio Raele, Antonio Petrella, Pasquale Troiano and Maria Assunta Cafiero
Pathogens 2022, 11(12), 1523; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens11121523 - 12 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2647
Abstract
Linguatula serrata, Frohlich, 1789, is a cosmopolitan zoonotic worm-like parasite of carnivores and other vertebrates including herbivores and omnivores. The adult form of the parasite typically inhabits the upper respiratory system, nares, and frontal sinuses of dogs, wolves, and cats. Infective eggs [...] Read more.
Linguatula serrata, Frohlich, 1789, is a cosmopolitan zoonotic worm-like parasite of carnivores and other vertebrates including herbivores and omnivores. The adult form of the parasite typically inhabits the upper respiratory system, nares, and frontal sinuses of dogs, wolves, and cats. Infective eggs may be spread by sneezing, nasal secretions, and stool. The immature stages of the parasite are localized in the visceral organs of intermediated hosts, usually ruminants or rodents, and they are orally transmitted to predators during the ingestion of infested viscera. This paper reports the morphological identification and the molecular characterization of L. serrata specimen collected from a gray wolf in the Apulia region (southern Italy) and it also provides epidemiological information on this rarely reported zoonosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Zoonotic Vector-Borne Diseases of Companion Animals)
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