Publications by authors named "Brian H Herrin"

14 Publications

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Retrospective study of canine endoparasites diagnosed by fecal flotation methods analyzed across veterinary parasitology diagnostic laboratories, United States, 2018.

Parasit Vectors 2021 Aug 31;14(1):439. Epub 2021 Aug 31.

Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, 77843, USA.

Background: Companion animal endoparasites play a substantial role in both veterinary medicine and public health. Updated epidemiological studies are necessary to identify trends in occurrence and distribution of these parasites, and their associated risk factors. This study aimed to assess the occurrence of canine endoparasites  retrospectively, using fecal flotation  test data available through participating academic veterinary parasitology diagnostic laboratories across the United States of America (USA).

Methods: Canine fecal flotation records from ten veterinary diagnostic laboratories located in nine states in the USA acquired from January 1, 2018, to December 31, 2018, were included.

Results: A total of 4692 fecal flotation test results were obtained, with a majority comprised of client-owned dogs (3262; 69.52%), followed by research dogs (375; 8.00%), and shelter dogs (122; 2.60%). Samples from 976 (20.80%) dogs were positive for at least one parasite, and co-infections of two or more parasites were found in 3.82% (179/4692) of the samples. The five most commonly detected parasites were: Giardia sp., (8.33%; 391/4692), Ancylostomatidae (5.63%; 264/4692), Cystoisospora spp. (4.35%; 204/4692), Toxocara canis (2.49%;117/4692), and Trichuris vulpis (2.43%; 114/4692). Various other internal parasites, including gastrointestinal and respiratory nematodes, cestodes, trematodes, and protozoans were detected in less than 1% of samples.

Conclusions: These data illustrate the importance of parasite prevention, routine fecal screening, and treatment of pet dogs. Additionally, pet owners should be educated about general parasite prevalence, prevention, and anthelmintic treatment regimens to reduce the risks of environmental contamination and zoonotic transmission.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-021-04960-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8406898PMC
August 2021

Early onset of pre-lethal effects of lotilaner (Credelio) on Amblyomma americanum ticks on experimentally infested dogs.

Parasit Vectors 2021 Jun 13;14(1):322. Epub 2021 Jun 13.

Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS, USA.

Background: The speed with which acaricides paralyze and kill ticks is relevant to impeding pathogen transmission. The objective of this study was to assess early-onset lotilaner effects on the motility and weights of Amblyomma americanum ticks collected from treated dogs.

Methods: Twelve healthy dogs were randomized between two groups to receive either lotilaner (Credelio) on Day 0 or to be sham treated. On Day 7, 25 male and 25 female A. americanum were placed under bandages, two on each flank of each dog. After 30 or 45 min, all unattached ticks were removed and T = 0 was set. At T = 2, 4, 8 and 24 h post attachment, 5 attached ticks removed from each bandage on each dog were weighed, assessed by blinded observers for righting ability and movement recorded.

Results: After the infestation period significantly fewer treated than control dogs had 20 ticks attached (50.0% versus 91.7%, P = 0.0015). At 24 h post attachment, mean weights of ticks from treated dogs (males 1.69 mg; females 2.72) were significantly less than ticks from controls (males 2.66 mg; females 4.67) (P = 0.0002; P < 0.0001). Mean tick weights from the treated group were significantly lower at 24 h than at earlier time points (P < 0.0307; P = 0.0021). At 4 and 8 h, significantly fewer ticks from treated (14.3%, 0.0%, respectively) than from control dogs could right (73.3%, 70.0%) (P < 0.0001; P = 0.0024) (at 24 h, all ticks from treated dogs were dead), and distance moved was significantly less at all time points (P = 0.0413; P, P < 0.0001). Mean and maximum velocity of ticks from treated dogs were significantly lower, relative to controls, at 4 and 8 h (P ≤ 0.0001). Within the treated group, collected ticks had significantly lower mean and maximum velocities at 4 and 8 h compared to 2 h (P < 0.0042; P < 0.0194).

Conclusion: The observed changes indicate that lotilaner may disrupt tick attachment. In ticks that attached, a progressive impairment of neuromuscular processes began within 2 h. Those irreversible changes could substantially reduce the risk of pathogen transmission from tick to host.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-021-04817-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8201672PMC
June 2021

Tick salivary gland extract induces alpha-gal syndrome in alpha-gal deficient mice.

Immun Inflamm Dis 2021 Sep 25;9(3):984-990. Epub 2021 May 25.

Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology, Thurston Arthritis Research Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA.

Introduction: Alpha-gal syndrome (AGS) is characterized by delayed hypersensitivity to non-primate mammalian meat in people having specific immunoglobulin E (sIgE) to the oligosaccharide galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose. AGS has been linked to tick bites from Amblyomma americanum (Aa) in the U.S. A small animal model of meat allergy is needed to study the mechanism of alpha-gal sensitization, the effector phase leading to delayed allergic responses and potential therapeutics to treat AGS.

Methods: Eight- to ten-weeks old mice with a targeted inactivation of alpha-1,3-galactosyltransferase (AGKO) were injected intradermally with 50 μg of Aa tick salivary gland extract (TSGE) on days 0, 7, 21, 28, 42, and 49. Total IgE and alpha-gal sIgE were quantitated on Day 56 by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Mice were challenged orally with 400 mg of cooked pork kidney homogenate or pork fat. Reaction severity was assessed by measuring a drop in core body temperature and scoring allergic signs.

Results: Compared to control animals, mice treated with TSGE had 190-fold higher total IgE on Day 56 (0.60 ± 0.12 ng/ml vs. 113.2 ± 24.77 ng/ml; p < 0.001). Alpha-gal sIgE was also produced in AGKO mice following TSGE sensitization (undetected vs. 158.4 ± 72.43 pg/ml). Further, sensitized mice displayed moderate clinical allergic signs along with a drop in core body temperature of ≥2°C as an objective measure of a systemic allergic reaction. Interestingly, female mice had higher total IgE responses to TSGE treatment but male mice had larger declines in mean body temperature.

Conclusion: TSGE-sensitized AGKO mice generate sIgE to alpha-gal and demonstrate characteristic allergic responses to pork fat and pork kidney. In keeping with the AGS responses documented in humans, mice reacted more rapidly to organ meat than to high fat pork challenge. This mouse model establishes the central role of tick bites in the development of AGS and provides a small animal model to mechanistically study mammalian meat allergy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/iid3.457DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8342229PMC
September 2021

Evaluation of a topical sarolaner-selamectin combination to control flea populations on naturally infested cats in private residences in West Central Florida.

Vet Parasitol 2020 Jul 17;283:109172. Epub 2020 Jun 17.

Zoetis, 10 Sylvan Way, Parsippany, NJ 07054, USA. Electronic address:

Historic data show that home flea infestations can be managed by treating all animals on the premises with a highly effective flea control product. The use of effective products has also been shown to reduce pruritus and minimize dermatologic lesions in both cats and dogs. Therefore, an in-home study was conducted in West Central Florida USA to evaluate the efficacy of a topically applied selamectin-sarolaner formulation to control fleas in naturally infested cats over a 12-week period. Thirty-seven cats in 21 households were treated once monthly with the selamectin-sarolaner topical solution. In the topical fluralaner treatment (positive control) group, forty-three cats in 20 households were treated once on day 0. A combined total of thirty dogs in both groups were treated once monthly with oral sarolaner. Fleas on cats were counted by flea combing, fleas on dogs were counted using visual area counts and fleas in the indoor premises were assessed using intermittent-light flea traps. Blinded-assessments of feline dermatologic lesions (modified-SCORFAD) were conducted monthly by a boarded-dermatologist and pruritus severity was evaluated by pet owners. Three consecutive monthly treatments of selamectin-sarolaner reduced flea populations on cats by 96.3 % within 7 days and by 100% from week 6 to the end of the 12-week study. The topical application of fluralaner reduced flea populations by 98.1 % within 7 days and efficacy reached 100% by week 12. At the end of the study, fleas were completely eradicated (from cats, dogs and homes) in every home regardless of treatment group. Owner reported cat pruritus was reduced by > 87 % in both treatment groups by week 12. Significant improvements in dermatologic lesion scores (> 81 %) were achieved by both products by the end of the study. Monthly applications of topical selamectin-sarolaner or topical fluralaner to cats living in the heavy flea challenge environment of West Central Florida USA were effective in eradicating flea infestations, reducing pruritus and improving dermatologic lesions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2020.109172DOI Listing
July 2020

infection in a zoo-housed red panda in Kansas.

J Vet Diagn Invest 2019 Sep 25;31(5):752-755. Epub 2019 Jul 25.

Departments of Clinical Sciences (Huckins, Eshar), College of Veterinary of Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.

A 9-y-old, zoo-housed, male red panda () became progressively lethargic and inappetent over a 1-wk period. Physical examination was unremarkable. A complete blood count showed mild normocytic, normochromic, non-regenerative anemia with the presence of trypomastigote organisms, consistent with a sp. The organism was confirmed later as lineage TcI via PCR and genome sequencing. The panda was initially treated supportively; however, its clinical status within 24 h from presentation deteriorated, and euthanasia was elected. Autopsy showed severe systemic infection with the presence of amastigotes in the heart, brain, peripheral nerves, skeletal muscles, tongue, liver, and testes. We used genome sequencing and serology in identifying the agent.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1040638719865926DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6727118PMC
September 2019

In-home assessment of flea control and dermatologic lesions in dogs provided by lotilaner (Credelio) and spinosad (Comfortis) in west central Florida.

Vet Parasitol X 2019 May 4;1:100009. Epub 2019 Apr 4.

Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA.

Post-launch field investigations of recently-approved flea control products establish an efficacy baseline and in subsequent years can detect any efficacy decline suggestive of emerging resistance. As part of a continuing program of yearly assessment of flea control products in west central Florida, this study, using client-owned dogs, investigated the efficacy of lotilaner and spinosad in controlling fleas and in alleviating dermatologic signs likely associated with flea infestations. Forty-four qualifying households were randomized to either a lotilaner (Credelio) (minimum dose rate 20 mg/kg) or a spinosad (Comfortis) (30 mg/kg) group, with 33 and 36 dogs in each group, respectively. On Days 0 and 28 (±2) all dogs in each household were treated with the allocated product according to label directions, and all household cats received spinetoram (Cheristin). On Day 0 and at weekly intervals through Day 56 (±2), on-animal and premises flea burdens were enumerated, a veterinary dermatologist scored integumental changes using canine atopic dermatitis extent and severity index (CADESI)-4 and flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) scales, and owners scored pruritus using the validated canine pruritus severity scale (CPSS). At study entry geometric mean flea counts were 33.2 and 29.9 in the lotilaner and spinosad groups, respectively. For both groups, reductions in flea counts were > 99% at the first post-treatment assessment (Week 1), and 100% from Week 6 through the final assessment (Week 8) when all study dogs were flea-free. For both groups, at each timepoint, flea counts on dogs and in traps were significantly reduced compared to the initial assessment (p < 0.001), as were improvements in median CADESI-4, FAD and CPSS scores (p ≤ 0.001). At Week 4, the geometric mean flea count on dogs in the lotilaner group (0.1) was significantly lower than that of dogs in the spinosad group (0.6) (p = 0.027), significantly fewer dogs in the lotilaner group were found to have fleas (p = 0.034), and mean owner-rated pruritus scores were significantly lower (p = 0.025). Under field conditions favoring heavy flea challenge, two consecutive monthly treatments of dogs with either lotilaner or spinosad produced a 100% reduction in canine flea infestations and dramatic improvements in dermatologic lesions and pruritus, based on scoring by a veterinary dermatologist and by dog owners. Household flea burdens were driven to extinction in all but one home in each treatment group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vpoa.2019.100009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7458372PMC
May 2019

In-home assessment of flea control and dermatologic lesions in dogs provided by lotilaner (Credelio®) and spinosad (Comfortis®) in west central Florida.

Vet Parasitol 2019 4;276S:100009. Epub 2019 Apr 4.

Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA. Electronic address:

Post-launch field investigations of recently-approved flea control products establish an efficacy baseline and in subsequent years can detect any efficacy decline suggestive of emerging resistance. As part of a continuing program of yearly assessment of flea control products in west central Florida, this study, using client-owned dogs, investigated the efficacy of lotilaner and spinosad in controlling fleas and in alleviating dermatologic signs likely associated with flea infestations. Forty-four qualifying households were randomized to either a lotilaner (Credelio®) (minimum dose rate 20 mg/kg) or a spinosad (Comfortis®) (30 mg/kg) group, with 33 and 36 dogs in each group, respectively. On Days 0 and 28 (±2) all dogs in each household were treated with the allocated product according to label directions, and all household cats received spinetoram (Cheristin®). On Day 0 and at weekly intervals through Day 56 (±2), on-animal and premises flea burdens were enumerated, a veterinary dermatologist scored integumental changes using canine atopic dermatitis extent and severity index (CADESI)-4 and flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) scales, and owners scored pruritus using the validated canine pruritus severity scale (CPSS). At study entry geometric mean flea counts were 33.2 and 29.9 in the lotilaner and spinosad groups, respectively. For both groups, reductions in flea counts were > 99% at the first post-treatment assessment (Week 1), and 100% from Week 6 through the final assessment (Week 8) when all study dogs were flea-free. For both groups, at each timepoint, flea counts on dogs and in traps were significantly reduced compared to the initial assessment (p < 0.001), as were improvements in median CADESI-4, FAD and CPSS scores (p ≤ 0.001). At Week 4, the geometric mean flea count on dogs in the lotilaner group (0.1) was significantly lower than that of dogs in the spinosad group (0.6) (p = 0.027), significantly fewer dogs in the lotilaner group were found to have fleas (p = 0.034), and mean owner-rated pruritus scores were significantly lower (p = 0.025). Under field conditions favoring heavy flea challenge, two consecutive monthly treatments of dogs with either lotilaner or spinosad produced a 100% reduction in canine flea infestations and dramatic improvements in dermatologic lesions and pruritus, based on scoring by a veterinary dermatologist and by dog owners. Household flea burdens were driven to extinction in all but one home in each treatment group.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vpoa.2019.100009DOI Listing
April 2019

Efficacy of a topical formulation of selamectin plus sarolaner against induced infestations of Amblyomma americanum on cats and prevention of Cytauxzoon felis transmission.

Vet Parasitol 2019 Jun 11;270 Suppl 1:S31-S37. Epub 2018 Nov 11.

Zoetis, Veterinary Medicine Research and Development, Kalamazoo, MI 49007, USA.

Cytauxzoonosis, caused by infection with Cytauxzoon felis, is the most severe tick-borne disease of cats. The purpose of our study was to determine the efficacy of selamectin (6.0 mg/kg) plus sarolaner (1.0 mg/kg) formulated in combination (Revolution® Plus / Stronghold Plus, Zoetis) applied topically once a month on cats for three months against induced infestations of Amblyomma americanum adults and to evaluate the effectiveness of the product in preventing the transmission of C. felis. This study was conducted in two phases. Sixteen cats were dosed with selamectin/sarolaner or a placebo (vehicle control) on Days 0, 28, and 56. In phase 1, each cat was infested with 50 (±5) unfed adult A. americanum on Day 4 and tick counts were conducted on Day 6 (48 h post infestation) and Day 7 (72 h post infestation) to evaluate acaricidal efficacy. In phase 2, to confirm acaricidal efficacy and evaluate prevention of C. felis transmission, each cat was infested on Day 60 with 50 (±5) adult A. americanum acquisition fed as nymphs on two C. felis-infected donor cats. Tick counts were conducted on Day 62 (48 h post infestation) and Day 63 (72 h post infestation). Blood samples were collected on Days -9, 60, 70, 76, and 90 and tested for infection with C. felis. Placebo cats were adequately infested on all count days, with least squares (geometric) mean live tick counts ranging from 34.0 (28.8) to 46.1 (46.0). Treatment reduced the least squares (geometric) mean counts compared to placebo by 27.1 (32.1)% and 90.4 (96.8)% on Days 6 and 7, respectively. The corresponding percent reductions were 56.4 (60.6)% and 94.7 (97.3)% on Days 62 and 63, respectively. Least squares mean counts were significantly lower in the treated group compared with the placebo group on all count days (P ≤ 0.0286). All cats were negative for C. felis by PCR prior to study start. In phase 2, seven cats in the control group and no cats in the selamectin/sarolaner group became infected with C. felis (P = 0.0017). Topical treatment with selamectin/sarolaner was >90% effective in reducing A. americanum tick counts 72 h after infestation and prevented the transmission of C. felis from infected ticks following the third of three monthly treatments. Revolution Plus / Stronghold Plus offers an option for the control of A. americanum infestations on cats and for preventing the transmission of C. felis to cats.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2018.10.018DOI Listing
June 2019

Ticks from cats in the United States: Patterns of infestation and infection with pathogens.

Vet Parasitol 2018 Jun 5;257:15-20. Epub 2018 May 5.

Merck Animal Health, Madison, NJ, USA.

Ticks are an important but under recognized parasitic threat to cats in many areas of the United States. To characterize the species and stages of ticks most commonly recovered from cats and determine the prevalence of disease agents in the ticks, we conducted a survey of ticks removed from cats at veterinary practices in 18 states from April 2016-June 2017. A total of 796 ticks were submitted from 332 cats from 41 different veterinary practices. A single tick was submitted from the majority of cats, with a mean infestation intensity of 2.4 (range 1-46). The most common tick was Ixodes scapularis, accounting for 422/796 (53.0%) ticks submitted, followed by Amblyomma americanum (224/796; 28.1%) and Dermacentor variabilis (131/796; 16.5%); a few I. pacificus, I. banksi, D. occidentalis, A. maculatum, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, and Otobius megnini were also submitted. A majority of ticks were adults (593/796; 74.5%); females predominated in all adult tick submissions including I. scapularis (277/327; 84.7% female), A. americanum (66/128; 51.6% female), and D. variabilis (75/126; 59.5% female). Immature ticks included 186 nymphs and 17 larvae and were primarily I. scapularis and A. americanum. Adult I. scapularis were most reported to be attached to the dorsal head and neck; A. americanum to the abdomen and perianal region; and D. variabilis to the back and ear. Ticks were collected in every month; the largest number of submissions were in May and June (42.5% of ticks) and October and November (35.9% of ticks). Adults of I. scapularis were most commonly submitted October through December, A. americanum March through June, and D. variabilis May through July. Cats with ticks were predominantly male (58.8%) and altered (76.2%), and most reportedly spent >30% of time outdoors, although 64/294 (21.8%) for which lifestyle estimates were provided were reported to live primarily (≤30% of time outside; n = 54) or entirely (100%; n = 10) indoors. Assay of ticks removed from cats revealed I. scapularis were infected with Borrelia burgdorferi (25.7%) and Anaplasma phagocytophilum (4.4%); A. americanum were infected with Ehrlichia chaffeensis (1.3%); and D. variabilis were infected with spotted fever group Rickettsia spp. (3.1%). No ticks in this study tested positive for Cytauxzoon felis. Pet cats, including those that live primarily indoors, are at risk of tick infestation, potentially exposed to tick-borne disease agents, and would benefit from routine tick control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2018.05.002DOI Listing
June 2018

Canine and human infection with Borrelia burgdorferi in the New York City metropolitan area.

Parasit Vectors 2018 03 20;11(1):187. Epub 2018 Mar 20.

Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 74074, USA.

Background: Autochthonous transmission of Borrelia burgdorferi, the primary agent of Lyme disease in dogs and people in North America, commonly occurs in the northeastern United States, including the New York City metropolitan area, a region with a large human and pet population and broadly diverse demographics and habitats.

Methods: We evaluated results from a specific, C6-based serologic assay performed on 234,633 canine samples to compare evidence of past or current infection with B. burgdorferi (sensu stricto) in dogs to county-wide social and environmental factors, as well as to reported cases of Lyme disease in people.

Results: The data revealed a wide range of county level percent positive canine test results (1.2-27.3%) and human case reports (0.5-438.7 case reports/100,000 people). Dogs from highly (> 50%) forested areas and counties with lower population density had the highest percent positive test results, at 21.1% and 17.9%, respectively. Canine percent positive tests correlated with population-adjusted human case reports (R = 0.48, P < 0.0001), as well as population density, development intensity, temperature, normalized difference vegetation index, and habitat type. Subsequent multiple regression allowed an accurate prediction of infection risk in dogs (R = 0.90) but was less accurate at predicting human case reports (R = 0.74).

Conclusion: In areas where Lyme disease is endemic, canine serology continues to provide insight into risk factors for transmission to both dogs and people although some differences in geographic patterns of canine infection and human disease reports are evident.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-018-2774-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5859393PMC
March 2018

Canine infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, Dirofilaria immitis, Anaplasma spp. and Ehrlichia spp. in Canada, 2013-2014.

Parasit Vectors 2017 May 19;10(1):244. Epub 2017 May 19.

Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA.

Background: Canine test results generated by veterinarians throughout Canada from 2013-2014 were evaluated to assess the geographical distribution of canine infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, Dirofilaria immitis, Ehrlichia spp., and Anaplasma spp.

Methods: The percent positive test results of 115,636 SNAP® 4Dx® Plus tests from dogs tested were collated by province and municipality to determine the distribution of these vector-borne infections in Canada.

Results: A total of 2,844/115,636 (2.5%) dogs tested positive for antibody to B. burgdorferi. In contrast, positive test results for D. immitis antigen and antibodies to Ehrlichia spp. and Anaplasma spp. were low, with less than 0.5% of dogs testing positive for any one of these three agents nationwide. Provincial seroprevalence for antibodies to B. burgdorferi ranged from 0.5% (Saskatchewan)-15.7% (Nova Scotia); the areas of highest percent positive test results were in proximity to regions in the USA considered endemic for Lyme borreliosis, including Nova Scotia (15.7%) and Eastern Ontario (5.1%). These high endemic foci, which had significantly higher percent positive test results than the rest of the nation (P < 0.0001), were surrounded by areas of moderate to low seroprevalence in New Brunswick (3.7%), Quebec (2.8%), and the rest of Ontario (0.9%), as well as northward and westward through Manitoba (2.4%) and Saskatchewan (0.5%). Insufficient results were available from the westernmost provinces, including Alberta and British Columbia, to allow analysis.

Conclusion: Increased surveillance of these vector-borne disease agents, especially B. burgdorferi, is important as climate, vector range, and habitat continues to change throughout Canada. Using dogs as sentinels for these pathogens can aid in recognition of the public and veterinary health threat that each pose.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13071-017-2184-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5437676PMC
May 2017

Confirmation of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in Ixodes scapularis, Southwestern Virginia.

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 2014 Nov;14(11):821-3

1 Veterinary Pathobiology, Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences , Stillwater, Oklahoma.

To determine the prevalence of Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum in a newly established population of Ixodes scapularis in the mountainous region of southwestern Virginia, questing adult ticks were collected and the identity and infection status of each tick was confirmed by PCR and sequencing. A total of 364 adult ticks were tested from three field sites. B. burgdorferi sensu stricto was identified in a total of 32/101 (32%) ticks from site A, 49/154 (32%) ticks from site B, and 36/101 (36%) ticks from site C, for a total prevalence rate of 33% (117/356). In addition, A. phagocytophilum was detected in 3/364 (0.8%) ticks, one from site A and two from site B. The prevalence of both pathogens in ticks at these sites is similar to that reported from established endemic areas. These data document the presence of I. scapularis and the agent of Lyme disease in a newly established area of the Appalachian region, providing further evidence of range expansion of both the tick and public and veterinary health risk it creates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2014.1661DOI Listing
November 2014

Antibodies reactive to Ehrlichia spp. are common in Oklahoma horses.

Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 2014 Aug;14(8):552-6

1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Center for Veterinary Health Sciences, Oklahoma State University , Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Abstract Tick infestations and infection with tick-borne agents are commonly recognized in horses in North America, but equine infection with true Ehrlichia spp. has not been described. To determine the degree to which horses in the south-central United States are naturally exposed to and infected with tick-borne disease agents, serum samples were collected at random (n=240) or from horses with active tick infestations (n=73) and tested by immunofluorescence antibody assay (IFA) and/or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for evidence of antibodies reactive to Ehrlichia spp., Anaplasma spp., and Borrelia burgdorferi. Positive samples were further evaluated by species-specific serology for antibodies reactive to E. canis and E. chaffeensis, and whole blood samples were tested by PCR for evidence of infection with E. canis, E. chaffeensis, E. ewingii, and an E. ruminantium-like organism referred to as the Panola Mountain Ehrlichia. Antibodies reactive to Ehrlichia spp. were identified in 8.75% (21/240) of the randomly acquired samples and 24.7% (18/73) of the serum samples from tick-infested horses, but species-specific ELISA and PCR failed to confirm exposure to or infection with any known Ehrlichia spp. Antibodies to Anaplasma spp. (5/313; 1.6%) and B. burgdorferi (3/313; 1.0%) were uncommon. These data suggest that horses in the south-central United States are likely exposed to a novel Ehrlichia sp. Further research is needed to identify the etiologic agent responsible for the serologic activity seen and to determine the clinical significance, if any, of this finding.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2013.1570DOI Listing
August 2014

Prevalence and species of ticks on horses in central Oklahoma.

J Med Entomol 2013 Nov;50(6):1330-3

Ticks are common on horses, but there is a dearth of contemporary data on infestation prevalence, predominant species, and tick-borne disease agents important in this host. To determine the species of ticks most common on horses and the prevalence of equine exposure to and infection with tick-borne disease agents, ticks and blood samples were collected from 73 horses during May, June, and July of 2010. Adult ticks were identified to species, and antibodies to Ehrlichia spp., Anaplasma spp., and Borrelia burgdorferi were identified using indirect fluorescence antibody assay, a commercial point-of-care enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or both. In total, 1,721 ticks were recovered at the majority (85%) of equid examinations. Amblyomma americanum (L.) was the most common tick collected (1,598 out of 1,721; 92.9%) followed by Dermacentor variabilis (Say, 1821) (85 out of 1,721; 4.9%) and Amblyomma maculatum Koch, 1844 (36 out of 1,721; 2.1%); single specimens of Ixodes scapularis Say, 1821 and Dermacentor albipictus (Packard, 1869) were also identified. Antibodies reactive to Ehrlichia spp. were found in 18 out of 73 (24.7%) of horses tested, and were more commonly identified in horses with moderate or high tick infestations than those with low tick infestations (P < 0.001). These data support A. americanum as the most common tick species infesting horses in central Oklahoma from May through July and suggest horses are also commonly exposed to an Ehrlichia sp.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1603/me13117DOI Listing
November 2013
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