• Open Access

Bartonella DNA in the Blood and Lymph Nodes of Golden Retrievers with Lymphoma and in Healthy Controls

Authors

  • A.W. Duncan,

    1. Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC,
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  • H.S. Marr,

    1. Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC,
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  • A.J. Birkenheuer,

    1. Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC,
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  • R.G. Maggi,

    1. Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC,
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  • L.E. Williams,

    1. Department of Clinical Sciences, North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC,
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  • M.T. Correa,

    1. Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC
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  • E.B. Breitschwerdt

    1. Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory, Center for Comparative Medicine and Translational Research, North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC,
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  • This work was performed at the Intracellular Pathogens Research Laboratory in North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Raleigh, NC. Abstract presented at the 2006 Joint Meeting: 20th National Meeting of the American Society for Rickettsiology and the 5th International Conference on Bartonella as Emerging Pathogens.

  • The research was funded in part by the American Kennel Club-Canine Health Foundation, Bayer Animal Health, the Golden Retriever Foundation, IDEXX Laboratories, and the State of North Carolina.

Corresponding author: Dr Edward B. Breitschwerdt, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, 4700 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27606; email: ed_breitschwerdt@ncsu.edu.

Abstract

Background: Although lymphoma is the most common neoplastic process reported in dogs, its precise etiology is unknown. Golden Retrievers are more likely to develop lymphoma, suggesting a breed predisposition; however, other factors, including environment, immunity, and infection, are likely contributors to oncogenesis.

Hypothesis: We hypothesized that the development of lymphoma in Golden Retrievers may be associated with vector-borne infections, specifically Bartonella, Anaplasma, or Ehrlichia species infections.

Animals: Golden Retrievers with lymphoma and healthy Golden Retrievers from across the United States were recruited for study participation.

Methods: A matched, case-control study was performed to determine the association of lymphoma and the presence of Bartonella, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia species in serum, blood, and lymph node aspirates.

Results: Using PCR analyses and DNA sequencing, single and coinfections with Bartonella henselae, Bartonella elizabethae, Bartonella quintana, and/or Bartonella vinsonii (berkhoffii) were detected in the blood and lymph node aspirates of Golden Retrievers with lymphoma (5/28 dogs, 18%) and in healthy Golden Retrievers (10/56 dogs, 18%); no Anaplasma or Ehrlichia DNA was detected in any dog. When compared with dogs with lymphoma, a higher (P <.001) proportion of healthy Golden Retrievers were receiving monthly acaricide treatments (2.6 times higher).

Conclusions and Clinical Importance: Bartonella DNA can be detected in blood and lymph nodes; importantly, in this report, Bartonella was detected in the same proportion of clinically healthy dogs and dogs with lymphoma. Longitudinal studies should be conducted to determine the mode of transmission of Bartonella in dogs, whether lymphatic infection is persistent, or whether these bacteria may contribute to the development of lymphoma.

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