Objective - To determine the seroprevalence of antibodies against Bartonella spp in a population of sick dogs from northern California and identify potential risk factors and clinical signs associated with seropositivity. Sample population - Sera from 3,417 dogs. Procedure - Via an ELISA, sera were analyzed for antibodies against Bartonella vinsonii subsp berkhoffii, Bartonella clarridgeiae, and Bartonella henselae; test results were used to classify dogs as seropositive (mean optical density value ≥ 0.350 for B henselae or ≥ 0.300 for B clarridgeiae or B vinsonii subsp berkhoffii) or seronegative. Overall, 305 dogs (102 seropositive and 203 seronegative dogs) were included in a matched case-control study. Results - 102 of 3,417 (2.99%) dogs were seropositive for ≥ 1 species of Bartonella. Of these, 36 (35.3%) had antibodies against B henselae only, 34 (33.3%) had antibodies against B clarridgeiae only, 2 (2.0%) had antibodies against B vinsonii subsp berkhoffii only, and 30 (29.4%) had antibodies against a combination of those antigens. Compared with seronegative dogs, seropositive dogs were more likely to be herding dogs and to be female, whereas toy dogs were less likely to be seropositive. Seropositive dogs were also more likely to be lame or have arthritis-related lameness, nasal discharge or epistaxis, or splenomegaly. Conclusions and clinical relevance - Only a small percentage of dogs from which serum samples were obtained had antibodies against Bartonella spp. Breed appeared to be an important risk factor for seropositivity. Bartonella infection should be considered in dogs with clinical signs of lameness, arthritis-related lameness, nasal discharge or epistaxis, or splenomegaly.
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