The present paper is the first to perform this evaluation in dogs from the cities of Natividade, Porciuncula and Varre-Sai. The aim of this study is to search for Spotted Fever Group Rickettsia in canine sera using indirect immunofluorescence assay and to identify the probable causative agent of sera reactions in animals. Of the 253 sampled canines, 67.59% (171/253) were seroreactive for Rickettsia rickettsii and 11.07% (28/253) for Rickettsia parkeri, both in dilution 1:64. Titration of tested sera against R. rickettsii antigens reached 1:131.072 and, for R. parkeri, 1:4.096. We conclude that dogs are important sentinels for R. rickettsii infection, and can be infected regardless of sex, age, the habit of visiting woodlands or being in direct contact with equines and capybaras. Serological diagnosis has highlighted many dogs infected by R. rickettsii, and ambient conditions, such as the presence of flowing water bodies, was important for the occurrence of Brazilian Spotted Fever in the northwestern of Rio de Janeiro State.
Spotted Fever Group Rickettsia; indirect immunofluorescence assay; ecological characterization; environmental characterization