Seroprevalence of pathogenic Leptosira and associated risk factors among febrile dogs presented at small animal clinics in Kampala metropolitan area, Uganda
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There is significant evidence of leptospirosis in humans and animals in Uganda, with animal-human interactions being pointed out as potential sources of leptospirosis for humans. In this regard, studies have been conducted on several animal species in Uganda, yet data on dogs remains limited. This was a six-month longitudinal study aimed at determining the seroprevalence and risk factors associated with leptospirosis among the studied febrile dogs. Blood samples were taken from febrile dogs presented to the small animal clinics in Kampala metropolitan area and tested by MAT to establish their serostatus against a panel of pathogenic Leptospira serovars. Of 100 febrile dogs tested, 21.0% (n =21) tested positive (titer ≥ 100) to at least one Leptospira serovar. The majority of seropositive dogs tested positive to serovars Australis (35.1%), Grippotyphosa (29.7%), Icterohaemorrhagiae (16.2%), and Canicola (10.8%). No anti-Leptospira antibodies were detected against serovars Butembo, Kenya, Nigeria, Tarassovi, Shermani, and Sejroe. Seropositivity to multiple Leptospira serovars was detected in up to 57.1 % of the dogs, and up to 23.8% of the seropositive dogs had high anti-Leptospira antibody titers (≥800), consistent with acute Leptospira infection at the time of testing. From the Chi-square test, only vaccination status was significantly associated with Leptospira seropositivity (p-value 0.021). The non-vaccinated dogs had 3.8 times greater odds of being seropositive than their vaccinated counterparts (p-value 0.025 95%; CI 1.8101-12.3976). Findings of anti-Leptospira antibodies among febrile dogs in this study imply exposure of dogs in Kampala metropolitan area to leptospires. This, therefore, indicates that the burden of exposure to Leptospira in dogs is high particularly to the serovars Australis, Grippotyphosa, Icterohaemorrhagiae, and Canicola. Non-vaccinated dogs have greater odds of getting the clinical disease than the vaccinated ones. So, strategies should be put in place to sensitize the population about the burden of leptospirosis and vaccination of the dogs following the recommended schedule and against commonly circulating serovars.