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Rickettsiosis is caused by Orientia spp. and Rickettsia spp., arthropod-borne zoonotic intracellular bacteria. The close relationships between pet dogs, cats and owners increase the risk of rickettsial transmission, with limited studies on the seroprevalence in pets. This study investigated the prevalence of rickettsia exposure among dogs and cats in Bangkok and neighboring provinces. The samples from 367 dogs and 187 cats used in this study were leftover serum samples from routine laboratory testing stored at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. In-house Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests included IgG against the scrub typhus group (STG), typhus group (TG), and spotted fever group (SFG). The seroprevalence in pet dogs was 30.25% (111/367), including 21.53% for STG, 4.36% for TG, and 1.09% for SFG. Co-seroprevalence consisted of 2.72% for STG and TG, 0.27% for STG and SFG, and 0.27% for pangroup infection. The prevalence in cats was 62.56% (117/187), including 28.34% for STG, 4.28% for TG, and 6.42% for STG. Co-seroprevalence in cats consisted of STG and TG (4.28%), STG and SFG (5.35%), TG and SFG (3.21%), and three-group infection (10.69%). No significant difference in seroprevalence for the three serogroups was observed in any of the 64 districts sampled. The mean hematocrit level significantly decreased in seropositive dogs (P<0.05). Seropositive dogs and cats were detected in significantly greater numbers of anemia cases than nonanemia cases (P<0.05) (odds ratio: 7.93, 0.44, p = 0.00, p = 0.01). A significantly higher number of seropositive cats had decreased hemoglobin levels (P<0.05) (odds ratio: 3.63, p = 0.00). The seropositive samples significantly differed among older cats (P<0.05). These high exposures in pet dogs and cats could constitute important relationship dynamics between companion animals and rickettsial vectors. Significantly decreased hematocrit and hemoglobin levels indicated anemia in the exposed dogs and cats. The study findings will raise awareness of this neglected disease among pet owners and veterinary hospital personnel and aid in future public health preventative planning.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Animals, Cats, Dogs, Rickettsia, Seroepidemiologic Studies, Cat Diseases, Hospitals, Animal, Dog Diseases, Hospitals, Teaching, Thailand, Scrub Typhus, Anemia, Hemoglobins