Diagnosis of acute canine leptospirosis using multiple laboratory tests and characterization of the isolated strains.BMC Vet Res 2018; 14(1):222BV
Dogs presenting with acute leptospirosis may present non-specific clinical and laboratory findings, and the definitive diagnosis may require additional confirmatory tests, including bacterial culture, for the direct or indirect identification of the pathogen. The present study describes the diagnosis of leptospirosis in suspected dogs based on the use of multiple diagnostic tests, including serological, molecular and bacteriological tests, along with the characterization of the recovered leptospiral strains.
Urine, serum and blood samples were collected from 33 dogs with suspected clinical leptospirosis treated at the University of São Paulo Veterinary Hospital Service (Hovet FMVZ-USP) between 2013 and 2016. Only dogs with high blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels in association with multiple clinical manifestations of the disease were included. Leptospiral culture, PCR and serology (Microscopic agglutination test - MAT) were performed in blood and urine samples taken from all suspected dogs at clinical presentation, and an additional prospective MAT titration was performed in seven dogs. Infection could be identified exclusively by PCR in 10 dogs (30.3%), exclusively by MAT in four dogs (12.1%) and by both tests in four dogs, totaling 18 dogs (54.5-95%CI: 37.6-71.5). Six out of eight MAT-confirmed cases presented with the highest titers against the Icterohaemorrhagiae serogroup. Leptospires were recovered from urine samples from two PCR-positive dogs, and both strains could be characterized by Multilocus Sequence Analysis and serogrouping as L. interrogans serogroup Icterohaemorrhagiae. Both isolates were shown to be pathogenic in the hamster model.
The simultaneous use of MAT and PCR was able to increase the diagnosis of leptospirosis in clinically suspected cases. Despite the increasing incidence of new serovars affecting dogs being reported in different locations, our results suggest that leptospiral strains belonging to the Icterohaemorrhagiae serogroup are still a major causative agent of canine leptospirosis in São Paulo, Brazil.