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Tick-transmitted diseases in dogs – Can you help us?

We are looking for help from veterinary practices, hospitals and charities that may be able to provide surplus serum samples from dogs to help us investigate tick-transmitted diseases.

With support from the Dogs Trust we are planning to undertake studies on the risk of exposure of dogs in the UK to tick-transmitted diseases, especially to Louping Ill Virus (LIV).

We have recently published a report of a fatal case of this sheep-tick transmitted disease in a previously clinically healthy working dog in the UK and we would like to explore the extent of exposure to this in the first instance and other tick-transmitted diseases in the UK canine population as a whole, by serological analysis. Furthermore, we would like to identify possible life-history related risk factors associated with exposure such as access to rural versus urban environment and dog role (working dog, pet, stray/abandoned) etc.

To fulfil the Dogs Trust’s criteria, we may use only surplus serum or plasma from dogs that have had blood samples taken and submitted for diagnostic investigations of other, naturally occurring, conditions or routine health screening (e.g. pre-anaesthetic, health check).

We are therefore looking for veterinary practices/hospitals/charities/shelters which could provide us with surplus clinical samples. A minimum of 300 microliters of sample (500 ideal) will be needed for each dog.

Sample collection instructions, sampling kit, pre-paid return box details and owner consent/questionnaire forms will all be provided. In exchange, we will run the serological test free of charge and report the result back to the submitting practitioner.

At this stage we are looking for an indication from your organisation of a willingness and ability to participate in this project. Organisations participation will be recognised in any presentation or publication arising from this work, taking great care to stress that the study used only excess clinical samples with full owner consent.

If you are willing to help we would be most grateful if you would respond by letter or e-mail to this request.

Please do not hesitate to contact, either by phone or email (details below) should you wish further information.


Mara Rocchi and Fiona Gordon
Virus Surveillance Unit,
Moredun Research Institute
0131 445 6128

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