Seroprevalence of Ehrlichia Canis Infection in Stray Dogs from Serbia

Nataša Bogićević 1 , Milica Elezović Radovanović 1 , Ana Vasić 1 , Marija Manić 2 , Jovan Marić 1 , Dragica Vojinović 3 , Dragan Rogožarski 4 , Ana Gligić 5 ,  and Miroslav Valčić 1
  • 1 Department of Infectious Diseases of Animals and Bees, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 2 Department of Clinical Microbiology and Parasitology, Specialized Veterinary Institute “Niš”, Niš, Serbia
  • 3 Department of Immunology, Scientific Veterinary Institute of Serbia, , Belgrade, Serbia
  • 4 Department for Animal Health Care, Specialized Veterinary Institute, , Požarevac, Serbia
  • 5 Institute of Virology, , Belgrade, Serbia


Canine Monocytic Ehrlichiosis is a zoonotic bacterial disease with worldwide distribution. With regards to the population of stray dogs, the disease is facilitated due to their lifestyle and the lack of anti-parasitic protection. The aim of this study was to provide serological data on the presence of a specific Ehrlichia canis IgG antibodies in stray dogs, originating from 7 municipalities in Serbia. During the period from April 2013 to June 2014, 217 canine sera were submitted to the laboratory of the Department of Infectious Diseases of Animals and Bees, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Belgrade. An immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT) was performed to detect antibodies to Ehrlichia canis (cut off, 1:50). Seropositive dogs were found in 5 out of 7 counties with a seroprevalence varying from 3.57% to 20% and an overall seroprevalence of 11.06% (24/217). There was no statistically significant difference between the prevalence of infection and the host age or gender. Results showed that stray dogs contribute to maintaining and spreading of Ehrlichia canis in Serbia. Due to the close relationship between people and dogs, it is of great importance to constantly monitor and improve prevention of this disease.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • 1. Rikihisa, Y. (1991). The tribe Ehrlichieae and ehrlichial diseases. Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 4 (3): 286-308. PMid:1889044 PMCid:PMC358200

  • 2. Murphy, G.L., Ewing, S.A., Whitworth, L.C., Fox, J.C., Kocan, A.A. (1998). A molecular and serologic survey of Ehrlichia canis, E. chaffeensis, and E. ewingii in dogs and ticks from Oklahoma. Vet Parasitol. 79 (4): 325-339.

  • 3. Groves, M.G., Dennis, G.L., Amyx, H.L., Huxsoll, D.L. (1975). Transmission of Ehrlichia canis to dogs by ticks (Rhipicephalus sanguineus). Am J Vet Res. 36 (7): 937-940. PMid:1147359

  • 4. Neer, T.M., Harrus, S. (2006). Canine monocytotropic ehrlichiosis and neorickettsiosis (E. canis, E. chaffeensis, E. ruminantium, N. sennetsu, and N. risticii infections). In: Greene CE (Ed.), Infectious diseases of the dog and cat. 3rd edition. (pp. 203-216). St. Louis, Missouri: Saunders Elsevier.

  • 5. Waner, T., Harrus S., Bark, H., Bogin, E., Avidar, Y., Keysary, A. (1997). Subclinical canine ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis) in experimentally infected beagle dogs. Vet Parasitol. 69 (3-4): 307-317.

  • 6. Troy, G.C., Forrester, S.D. (1990). Canine ehrlichiosis. In: Green CE (Ed.), Infectious diseases of the dog and cat. (pp. 404-418). Philadelphia: W.B. Sanders Co.

  • 7. Beugnet, F., Marié, J.L. (2009). Emerging arthropodborne diseases of companion animals in Europe. Vet Parasitol. 163 (4): 298-305. PMid:19403239

  • 8. Farkas, R., Gyurkovszky, M., Lukács, Z., Aladics, B., Solzmosi, N. (2014). Seroprevalence of some vectorborne infections of dogs in Hungary. Vector-Borne Zoonot. 14 (4): 256-260. PMid:24689833 PMCid:PMC3993034

  • 9. Mircean, V., Dumitrache, M., Györke, A., Pantchev, N., Jodies, R., Mihalca, A., Cozma, V. (2012). Seroprevalence and geographic distribution of Dirofilaria immitis and tick-borne infections (Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, and Ehrlichia canis) in dogs from Romania. Vector-Borne Zoonot. 12 (7): 595-604. PMid:22607068

  • 10. Tsachev, I., Papadogiannakis, I., Kontos, V., Zarkov, I., Petrov, V., Pelagić, V. (2006). Seroprevalence of Ehrlichia canis infection among privately-owned dogs in northern Bulgaria. JHVMS. 57 (3): 206-216.

  • 11. Potkonjak, A., Savić, S., Jurisić, A., Petrović, A., Suvajdzić, Lj., Lako, B., Milošević, N., Novaković, Z. (2013). Seroepidemiological research of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. Acta Sci Vet. 41:1106, 1-8.

  • 12. Potkonjak, A., Savić, S., Spasojević-Kosić, Lj., Vračar, V., Kudus, R., Suvajdžić, Lj., Radišić, N. (2014). Seroprevalence of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis in hunting dogs in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. Arhiv Veterinarske Medicine 7 (1): 11-18.

  • 13. Rodriguez-Vivas, R.I., Albornoz, R.E.F., Bolio, G.M.E. (2005). Ehrlichia canis in dogs in Yucatan, Mexico: seroprevalence, prevalence of infection and associated factors. Vet. Parasitol. 127 (1): 75-79. PMid:15619376

  • 14. Christova, I., Van De Pol, J., Yazar, S., Velo, E., Schouls, L. (2003). Identification of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Anaplasma and Ehrlichia species, and spotted fever group Rickettsiae in ticks from Southeastern Europe. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 22 (9): 535-542. PMid:12938010

  • 15. Milutinović, M., Radulović, Ž. (2002). Ecological notes of ticks (Acari: Ixodidae) in Serbia (Central regions). Acta Vet-Beograd. 52 (1): 49-58.

  • 16. Skotarczak, B. (2003). Canine ehrlichiosis. Ann Agric Environ Med. 10 (2): 137-141. PMid:14677903

  • 17. Vargas-Hernández, G., André, M.R., Faria, J.L.M., Munhoz, T.D., Hernandez-Rodriguez, M., Machado, R.Z., Tinucci-Costa, M. (2012). Molecular and serological detection of Ehrlichia canis and Babesia vogeli in dogs in Colombia. Vet Parasitol. 186 (3-4): 254-260. PMid:22130333

  • 18. Ndip, L.M., Ndip, R.N., Esemu, S.N., Dickmu, V.L., Fokam, E.B., Walker, D.H., McBride, J.W. (2005). Ehrlichial infection in Cameroonian canines by Ehrlichia canis and Ehrlichia ewingii. Vet Microbiol. 111 (1-2): 59-66. PMid:16181750

  • 19. Trotz-Williams, L.A., Trees, A.J. (2003). Systematic review of the distribution of the major vector borne parasitic infections in dogs and cats in Europe, Vet Rec. 152 (4): 97-105. PMid:12572938

  • 20. Pavlović, I., Terzin, V., Petković, D., Ćurčin, Lj., Stanković, B., Terzin, D., Ćurčin, K. (2006). Ehrlichiosis in dogs from the Belgrade territory (in Serbian). Book of Abstracts, 8th Epizootiology Days, April 5-8, (pp. 52-53), Resort Vrdnik, Serbia.

  • 21. Carvalho, F.S., Wenceslau, A.A., Carlos, R.S., Albuquerque, G.R. (2008). Epidemiological and molecular study of Ehrlichia canis in dogs in Bahaia, Brazil. J Genet Mol Res. 7 (3): 657-662.

  • 22. Baneth, G., Warner, T., Koplah, A., Weinstein, S., Keysary, A. (1996). Survey of Ehrlichia canis antibodies among dogs in Israel. Vet Rec. 138 (11): 257-259. PMid:8734508

  • 23. Avizeh, R., Mosallanejad, B., Razi Jalali, M.H., Alborzi, A.R. (2010). Seroprevalence of Ehrlichia canis in dogs referred to Veterinary Hospital of Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Iran. Arch Razi Inst. 65 (1): 21-26.

  • 24. Keefe, T.J., Holland, C.J., Salyer, P.E., Ristic, M. (1982). Distribution of Ehrlichia canis among military dogs in the world and selected civilian dogs in the United States. J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 181 (3): 236-238. PMid:7050062

  • 25. Mylonakis, M., Koutinas, A., Billinis, C., Leontides, L., Kontos, V., Papadopoulos, O., Rallis, T., Futianou, A. (2003). Evaluation of cytology in diagnosis of acute canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (Ehrlichia canis): a comparison between five methods. Vet Microbiol. 91 (2-3): 197-204.

  • 26. Waner, T., Harrus, S., Jongejan, F., Bark, H., Keysary, A., Cornelissen, A.W. (2001). Significance of serological testing for ehrlichial diseases in dogs with special emphasis on the diagnosis of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis caused by Ehrlichia canis. Vet Parasitol. 95 (1): 1-15.

  • 27. Ristic, M., Huxsol, D.L., Weisige, R.M., Hildebrandt, P.K., Nyindo, M.B.A. (1972). Serological diagnosis of tropical canine pancytopenia by indirect immunofluorescence. Infect Immun. 6 (3): 226-231. PMid:4118045 PMCid:PMC422520


Journal + Issues