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J Vet Intern Med. 2004 Jan-Feb;18(1):56-64.

A prospective study of canine infective endocarditis in northern California (1999-2001): emergence of Bartonella as a prevalent etiologic agent.

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Department of Medicine and Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


A prospective study was performed (June 1999 to May 2001) to determine the incidence of infective endocarditis (IE) due to Bartonella in dogs in northern California and to compare these patients with other dogs with IE. IE was diagnosed antemortem based on clinical signs and echocardiography in 18 dogs. The etiologic agent was Bartonella sp. in 5 dogs (28%) and was diagnosed by high seroreactivity to Bartonella (titer > 1:512; range, 1:1,024-1:4,096); and confirmed postmortem by positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) from the infected valve and partial DNA sequencing of the citrate synthase gene (glt A). Conventional bacteria were causative agents in 7 dogs (39%). An etiologic agent was not identified in 6 dogs (33%). Bartonella vinsonii berkhoffii (n = 3), B clarridgeiae (n = 1), and a B clarridgeiae-like organism (n = 1) were identified. Blood culture was positive only for the IE case due to B clarridgeiae. All dogs with IE due to Bartonella were also seroreactive to Anaplasma phagocytophilum. All dogs with IE due to Bartonella had lesions only on the aortic valve. Of the cases of IE not due to Bartonella, 31% involved the aortic valve, 61% the mitral valve, and 8% both valves. Dogs with mitral valve IE lived longer than all dogs with aortic valve IE (P = .004) and dogs with IE of the aortic valve due to Bartonella (P = .002). In conclusion, Bartonella is a common cause of IE in dogs of northern California. A high Bartonella serologic titer (> 1:512) is useful antemortem to diagnose aortic valve IE due to Bartonella.

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