Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) have the potential to act as disease reservoirs for wildlife and are important sentinels for common circulating pathogens. Therefore, the infectious disease seroprevalence among domestic dogs in northern Botswana may be indicative of pathogen exposure of various wildlife species. The objective of this study was to assess the seroprevalence of Ehrlichia spp., Borrelia burgdorferi, Anaplasma spp., Dirofilaria immitis, canine adenovirus, canine parvovirus, and canine distemper virus in domestic dogs as proxies of disease prevalence in the local wildlife in the Okavango Delta region of Botswana. Statistical analysis assessed crude and factor-specific seroprevalence proportions in relation to age, sex, and geographical location as predictors of seropositivity. Logistic regression was used to identify adjusted predictors of seropositivity for each of the pathogens of interest.
Samples from 233 dogs in a total of seven locations in Maun, Botswana, and surrounding villages were collected and serologically analyzed. No dogs were seropositive for B. burgdorferi, while low seroprevalence proportions were observed for Anaplasma spp. (2.2%) and D. immitis (0.9%). Higher seroprevalence proportions were observed for the tick-borne pathogen Ehrlichia spp. (21.0%), and 19.7% were seropositive for canine adenovirus (hepatitis). The highest seroprevalence proportions were for canine parvovirus (70.0%) and canine distemper virus (44.8%). The predictors of seropositivity revealed that adults were more likely to be seropositive for canine adenovirus, canine distemper virus, and canine parvovirus than juveniles, and location was a risk factor for canine adenovirus, canine distemper virus, canine parvovirus, and Ehrlichia spp.
Results indicate that increasing tick control and vaccination campaigns for domestic dogs may improve the health of domestic animals, and potentially wildlife and humans in the Okavango Delta since viral and vector-borne bacterial pathogens can be transmitted between them.

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