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Occurrence of anti-Neospora caninum and anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies in dogs with visceral leishmaniasis

Ocorrência de anticorpos anti-Neospora caninum e anti-Toxoplasma gondii em cães com leishmaniose visceral

Uninfected dogs and those naturally infected with Leishmania chagasi exhibiting different clinical forms of disease were evaluated for the presence of anti-Neospora caninum and anti-Toxoplasma gondii antibodies. Blood samples were collected from 110 mongrel dogs. Sera were tested using the indirect fluorescent antibody test (IFAT), and the animals with visceral leishmaniasis (VL) (n=60) were classified clinically. Out of the 110 sera investigated, 5 (4.5%) were positive for N. caninum (IFAT>50) and 36 (32.7%) for T. gondii (IFAT>16). Anti-L. chagasi antibody titers in asymptomatic dogs (n=10) were found to be significantly lower (P<0.05) than those in oligosymptomatic ones (n=22), which were in turn significantly lower (P<0.05) than those in symptomatic ones (n=28). No association between Leishmania and N. caninum infections was observed. Among dogs infected with L. chagasi, a tendency (P=0.053) towards an association between the infection with T. gondii and the appearance of VL symptoms was observed, suggesting that the clinical manifestation of VL in dogs may enhance their susceptibility to T. gondii. The possible influence of the immunosuppressive status of canine leishmaniasis in the different clinical forms of the disease is discussed.

Canine visceral leishmaniasis; Leishmania chagasi; Toxoplasma gondii; Neospora caninum; co-infection; clinical forms

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