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Canine Leptospirosis Cases and Molecular Screening for Leptospira interrogans Infection
M Chetta, D Vicari, S Agnello, M Percipalle, V Ferrantelli and M Vitale*
Laboratory of Genetics of Microorganisms, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale (IZS) of Sicily “A. Mirri” Via Gino Marinuzzi 3, 90129 Palermo, Italy


A molecular survey for pathogenic Leptospira spp. in kennelled dogs in Sicily, Italy, showed up to 16% of positive results. A fatal leptospirosis case was confirmed in a stray dog in the city of Palermo in May 2012. The dog, a mixed breed male, was recovered for therapy but died within an hour. Inflammation was present in the liver and kidneys. Haematoxylin-eosin staining of the kidney tissue revealed interstitial nephrite indicative of leptospirosis. The meninges were congested with some icteric shades. Several organs and prepuce swabs showed positive reaction by PCR specific for pathogenic Leptospira spp. The serum analysis by MAT (microscopic agglutination test) showed positive results for Leptospira serovar Canicola with a titre of 1:400. Additionally, five clinical cases of canine leptospirosis were suspected over a two years period (2011-2012) in the province of Palermo, in contrast to the six in a previous 5 years period.  An increased  concern of  the veterinarians on  leptospirosis in pet dogs should be suggested.

Key words: Canine leptospirosis, Kennels, Molecular screening, Serovar Canicola, Vaginal and prepuce swabs


ISSN 0253-8318 (Print)
ISSN 2074-7764 (Online)