Isolation of Bartonella washoensis from a Dog with Mitral Valve Endocarditis

Bruno B Chomel, Aaron C. Wey, Rickie W. Kasten

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64 Scopus citations


We report the first documented case of Bartonella washoensis bacteremia in a dog with mitral valve endocarditis. B. washoensis was isolated in 1995 from a human patient with cardiac disease. The main reservoir species appears to be ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) in the western United States. Based on echocardiographic findings, a diagnosis of infective vegetative valvular mitral endocarditis was made in a spayed 12-year-old female Doberman pinscher. A year prior to presentation, the referring veterinarian had detected a heart murmur, which led to progressive dyspnea and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure the week before examination. One month after initial presentation, symptoms worsened. An emergency therapy for congestive heart failure was unsuccessfully implemented, and necropsy evaluation of the dog was not permitted. Indirect immunofluorescence tests showed that the dog was strongly seropositive (titer of 1:4,096) for several Bartonella antigens (B. vinsonii subsp. berkhoffii, B. clarridgeiae, and B. henselae), highly suggestive of Bartonella endocarditis. Standard aerobic and aerobic-anaerobic cultures were negative. However, a specific blood culture for Bartonella isolation grew a fastidious, gram-negative organism 7 days after being plated. Phenotypic and genotypic characterizations of the isolate, including partial sequencing of the citrate synthase (gltA), groEL, and 16S rRNA genes, indicated that this organism was identical to B. washoensis. The dog was seronegative for all tick-borne pathogens tested (Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia canis, and Rickettsia rickettsii), but the sample was highly positive for B. washoensis (titer of 1:8,192) and, according to indirect immunofluorescent-antibody assay, weakly positive for phase II Coxiella burnetii infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5327-5332
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology


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