Epidemiology of Vector-Borne Disease in Government Working Dogs
MetadataShow full item record
Vector-borne diseases are an emerging threat in the United States, posing significant risks to human and animal health. Dogs serve as reservoirs for many vector-borne pathogens and can also be utilized as sentinels to warn of potential disease risk to humans. The Hamer lab has been working in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to characterize canine infection with Trypanosoma cruzi. Upon discovering T. cruzi prevalence’s comparable to endemic countries (14.0%), they questioned whether other vector-borne diseases would have similar infection rates. Using a variety of serology assays and molecular testing, I sought to quantify and evaluate infection with, or exposure to, six different vector-borne disease agents. In an analysis of 221 dogs, this study found that the prevalence for antigen of D. immitis (1.4%), antibodies to Ehrlichia spp. (0.5%), and L. donovani (4.0%) were most common in the South, and antibodies to B. burgdorferi (0.9%) and Anaplasma spp. (0.9%) were most commonly identified in the Northeast. Government working dogs have widespread exposure to various disease agents. These highly valued dogs are at risk of potential loss of duty; maintaining their health is pertinent to avoid economic and security consequences.