Targeted next generation sequencing panel for comprehensive testing of vector-borne pathogens

Diagnosing vector-borne disease (VBD) in dogs can be difficult for a number of reasons. First, there are many different disease-causing agents that can be transmitted from ticks/fleas, and the clinical signs caused by these agents in dogs can overlap. Additionally, because ticks/fleas can harbor more than one agent at a time, multiple pathogens may be passed to a dog with a single vector bite, resulting in co-infections.

VBD infections can initially present with non-specific signs, such as fever, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or respiratory signs. Severe cases can be associated with neurologic signs. These signs can be a diagnostic conundrum. While initial blood work can be helpful and suggest VBD, it does not determine the infecting agent.

This study will develop a comprehensive next generation sequencing panel to detect and identify major VBD agents known to cause disease in dogs and to aid in diagnosis of active infections. Additionally, through parallel sequencing with this method, this panel will incorporate testing for additional infectious diseases that may cause GI, respiratory, or neurologic signs in dogs. The comprehensive nature of this sequencing panel should be a useful tool for surveillance of infectious diseases in the canine population for rapid identification of VBD in dogs and protection of pet owners from such zoonotic diseases.

Co-sponsored with the AKC Canine Health Foundation, Grant Number: 02553


Rebecca Wilkes, DVM; Purdue University
Amount: $2,500 (May 2019) $7,500 (November 2019)