• Open Access

Detection of Bartonella henselae IgM in Serum of Experimentally Infected and Naturally Exposed Cats

Authors

  • J. Ficociello,

    1. Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Fort Collins, CO
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  • C. Bradbury,

    1. Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Fort Collins, CO
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  • A. Morris,

    1. Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Fort Collins, CO
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  • M.R. Lappin

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Fort Collins, CO
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Corresponding author: Dr Michael R. Lappin, Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, 300 West Drake Road, Fort Collins, CO 80523; e-mail: mlappin@colostate.edu

Abstract

Background

Results of Bartonella henselae blood culture, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay on blood, or IgG antibody assays do not always correlate with the presence or absence of clinical disease in cats, and B. henselae IgG antibodies in serum do not always correlate with bacteremia. However, little is known concerning Bartonella spp. IgM antibodies in naturally exposed cats.

Hypothesis

Bartonella spp. IgM antibodies in serum are associated with fever, stomatitis, and bacteremia based on PCR assay results in experimentally infected or client-owned cats.

Animals

Stored sera from cats experimentally infected with B. henselae by exposure to Ctenocephalides felis, client-owned cats with and without fever, and client-owned cats with and without stomatitis were studied.

Methods

A Bartonella spp. IgM ELISA was titrated with samples from experimentally infected cats and then test sera from client-owned cats were assayed. Associations among IgM ELISA results, clinical findings, and bacteremia as defined by Bartonella spp. PCR assay were assessed.

Results

All experimentally infected cats developed Bartonella spp. IgM antibodies. Bartonella spp. IgM antibody assay results were not always in agreement with PCR assay results in client-owned cats (60%). Bartonella spp. DNA in blood, IgM antibodies, and IgG antibodies were not associated with the presence of fever or stomatitis.

Conclusions and Clinical Importance

Because Bartonella spp. IgM antibodies as measured by this assay were not associated with fever or stomatitis and were not always in agreement with PCR assay results, there appears to be little need for assessing individual client-owned cats for this antibody class alone.

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