Infectolab-Vet is a small, specialised veterinary laboratory that was created in June 2014. The idea to further develop the veterinary diagnostics emerged from numerous requests from horse and household pets owners which are (or were) patients of the BCA-clinic in Augsburg.
Together, the BCA-clinic, its associated specialised laboratory Infectolab and the biotechnological corporation AIF-Diagnostika developed a new diagnostic method to detect a possible Borrelia infection in dogs and horses. In addition to the antibody tests, a procedure was developed that shows possible infections by measuring the cellular immune system.
It has been established that for many pets such as dogs the infection rate can reach up to 50% in certain European regions. Even for horses, the risk of infection is continuously rising. This risk increases on holiday trips to foreign countries, where pets are exposed to unfamiliar pathogens that they do not encounter in their home country. This also applies to riding, show and competition horses; in this instance, horseflies represent another method of infection.
The clinical symptoms for dogs and horses are similar to the human disease. Typical signs for dogs are an impaired general health, anorexia, fever, pain, swelling and lameness¹. In horses, we can observe eye diseases, chronic weight loss, sporadic lameness and shifting leg lameness, muscles pain, arthritis and other orthopedic impairments².
The most common tests for Borrelia infection in pets are ELISA and Westernblot. However, in collaboration with the biotechnological corporation AID-Diagnostika, an EliSpot has been developed specifically to create a trustworthy laboratory diagnostic for horses and dogs that may be infected with Borrelia.
As it is the first specialised laboratory, Infectolab can offer such test procedures. The EliSpot has been used in human medicine for many years, in order to assess the cellular immune response and its activity. The EliSpot is a standardised procedure that is externally quality-controlled and is mainly used and accredited for the diagnosis of tuberculosis. In cases of other pathogens (i.e. infections such as Borrelia), different antigens are used to achieve a stimulation of the T-Lymphocytes. In human medicine, this test is also known as the Interferon-Gamma-Test.
It has therefore become possible, thanks to the combination of those modern test procedures, to make conclusions on the humoral level (IgG-ELISA, Borrelia Blot) and on the cellular level (EliSpot) of the immune system. Those results, in correlation with the clinical evaluation, should allow a reliable statement to be made on whether the canine and equine Borrelia infection needs to be treated.
For more information on the EliSpot test procedures, please visit: www.elispot.com
Please note that as known from the experiences in the human medicine, the sensitivity of the Elispot tests is influenced by the administration of antibiotics or Cortisol. Therefore the last drug dispensation should at least be dated back 4 weeks, at a unique administration (no depot) at least 14 days.
Infectolab-Vet also offers the opportunity to check the ticks for possible agents (and human-pathogen strains in particular) by means of the PCR. This is especially interesting, not just for pet owners, but also for people who enjoy outdoor activities. Please visit Zecken-PCR.
¹: Reinhard K. Straubinger; PhD, Inke Krupka, Dr med vet: Lyme Borreliosis in Dogs and Cats: Background, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention of Infections with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu strict, Vet Clin Samall Anim 40 (2010) 1103-1119
²: Animal Health Diagnostic Center, Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine: Lyme Disease Multiplex Testing for Horses (version 2/2014)
You can choose between two laboratory test order forms::
To start with, please request your blood kit for your horse at:
+49 (0) 821 455 190 32
+49 (0) 821 455 074 1
On the laboratory test order, you will be able to recognise the tubes that correspond to each test.
Please note that the EliSpot imperatively requires CPDA-tubes (yellow cap). Please keep the blood at normal room temperature and do not centrifuge it. The blood must reach the laboratory within 72 hours, as the EliSpot requires ‘living’ cells. Please also be aware that all blood samples must arrive in Infectolab-Vet by Saturday at 10:00 a.m. for processing, as we are closed on Sundays.
Since we are a small laboratory, we ask you to consider the following logistical aspects:
Please send the blood samples inside the kit. You can send single kits using the service of the Deutsche Post (German Post Office) or any another courier service. For more than one kit, the laboratory will request a pickup service with GO!-Logistik. Please inform us via phone so that we can organise this for you. We recommend that you send all of the blood samples that are going to be analysed from all of the animals in one courier shipment.
The laboratory results are sent to the veterinarian and/or the owner. Should you require the results via fax, please let us know.
We use a pre-payment system for foreign clients. You will find an additional document in your kit for this purpose. Please transfer the total price for the tests and the additional fee onto our account. As soon as the payment has arrived, we will send over your laboratory results.
It is possible for several veterinarians to organise one collective invoice.
Please let us know if you are interested!
Please keep in mind that from experiences in human medicine the specificity of the EliSpot test is affected by antibiotics or by immunosuppressives (like cortisol). For this reason the last medication of these drugs should be back at least 4 weeks, unique medication (no deposit) at least 14 days.
Tick Testing (PCR) – Tick testing – to be completely sure!
As a specialised laboratory for tick-borne diseases, we can test any tick and guarantee rapid and reliable results. In addition to Borrelia, we also recommend testing for other important pathogens.
Therefore, we offer four different tests (PCR) in one package, including:
3. Babesia (important for dogs)
The laboratory test order forms can be downloaded here:
Please, put the tick (or the parts of the tick that you have) into a piece of paper and close the edges with adhesive tape. Put the wrapped tick in an envelope and send it to us with the laboratory order form signed and completely filled in.
Ten days after we receive the tick(s), we will provide you with a written result of the PCR test and an invoice. Please make the payment as soon as possible.
Please note that health insurance companies do not cover the costs for these tests.
Why should the tick be tested?
Even small ticks may be infected. A tick develops from an egg to a larva and then to a nymph (young tick). The nymph is a hermaphrodite (male and female), which can either develop into a female or male adult tick. Every nymph needs a blood meal. All developmental stages can transfer pathogens of infection.
It is commonly known that ticks can transmit dangerous infectious diseases. Only TBE (Tick-Borne-Encephalitis) is usually mentioned and there is an effective vaccine for TBE. The risks of Lyme disease and other co-infections that can also results from a tick bite are largely underestimated; there is no effective vaccine against these infections.
Approximately 1% of larvae, 10% of nymphs and 20% of adult ticks carry the pathogen borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. A study has shown an incidence of 111/100.000 inhabitants per year in the area of Nürnberg. Consequently, there will be around 90,000 new infections in Germany every year. In southern Germany, 226 ticks have been analysed and it appeared that 21.2% were infected with B. burgdorferi sensu lato and another 3.5% carried babesia microti and other pathogens. More than one pathogen was found in over 7% of the analysed ticks.
Previously, isolated studies have been carried out to evaluate the infection rate of ticks with Borrelia and other co-infections. A Belgian study (V. Obsomer, PhD et al., Unvisersité Catholique de Louvian) detected up to 95 different pathogens in ticks. In certain studied areas, 45% of the ticks were currently infected with Borrelia. It is believed that 30% of ticks that are spread through birds carry up to six different human Borrelia stems.
Humans in the north-eastern and Midwestern United States are at increasing risk of acquiring tick-borne diseases; not only Lyme disease, but also two emerging diseases, human granulogcytic anaplasmosis and human babesiosis. Scientists found significant deviations in levels of co-infections in questing nymphs, most notably 83% more co-infection with Babesia microti and Borrelia burgdorferi than predicted by chance alone.
The proliferation of infected ticks depends on temporal, climatic and geographical changes. The living environment of different wild animals and the modified migration directions of birds is an important factor, given that all those animals are hosts for Borrelia and that they all carry ticks and participate in their spreading. Birds that live mainly in grass, shrubbery and underbrush and that spread infected ticks are particularly interesting. Ticks also survive in different new regions due to current climate changes. The human’s travelling behavior in our globalised era also favours the proliferation of infected ticks (means of transport, clothes, luggage, etc.) Furthermore, there are different types of ticks that are infected with different types of pathogens. Therefore the Borrelia stem borrelia miyamotoi, which has first occurred in the Pacific region in 1995, can now be observed in areas such as southern Germany, Italy, Holland, and in northern America.
During the last years, a certain type of Borrelia of Asian origin has been detected in only a few places across Europe and the US. In Asia, Borrelia miyamotoi is well-known as cause of relapsing fevers and pain. In Germany Borrelia miyamotoi has been scientifically verified at Lake Constance and near Munich up to now. Most recently the BCA-research team identified Borrelia miyamotoi DNA in a common local tick in our local tick studies at Augsburg.
For full research abstract, please check: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10493-018-0220-8
Picture: Using the specific PCR, the scientist can identify different species of Borrelia based on the size of the band on the Agarose-gel.
For getting the whole paper please download directly at Springer Medien site (fee-based). In case of any further questions, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Literature & Studies
Animal Health Diagnostic Center, Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine: Lyme Disease Multiplex Testing for Horses (version 2/2014)
Balakrishnan N et al.: Serological and molecular prevalence of selected canine vector borne pathogens in blood donor candidates, clinically healthy volunteers, and stray dogs in North Carolina; Parasit Vectors. 2014 Mar 24; 7:116
Barth C. Et al.: Comparison of different diagnostic assays for the detection of Borrelia burgdorferi-specific antibodies in dogs; Vet Clin Pathol 0/0 (2014) 1-9
Marion Blaschitz et al.: Babesia Species Occurring in Austrian Ixodes ricinus Ticks; Applied and environmental Microbiology, Aug. 2008, Vol. 74, No. 15, p. 4841-4846
Peter D. Burbelo et al.: Antibody Profiling of Borrelia burgdorferi Infection in Horses; Clinical and Vaccine Immunology, Sept. 2011, p. 1562-1567
E.C. Burgess: Experimental inoculation of dogs with Borrelia burgdorferi; Zbl. Bakt. Hyg. A 263: 49 – 54, (1986)
Olaf Dietz, Bernhard Huskamp: Handbuch der Pferdepraxis, ISBN: 3-8304-1028-X 35.15 Borreliose von A. Liebisch
Thomas J. Divers: EQUine Lyme Diseases; Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 33 (2013) 488-492
Cyrille Bilé Ehounoud et al.: Multiple Pathogens Including Potential New Species in Tick Vectors on Côte d’Ivoire, 2016. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 10(1):e0004367.doi:10.1371/jounal.pntd.0004367.
Mark W. Eshoo et al.: Broad-Range Survey of Tick-Borne Pathogens in Southern Germany Reveals a High prevalence of Babesia microti and a Diversity of Other Tick-Borne Pathogens; Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, Volume 14, Number 8, 2014
Michelle H. Hersh et al.: Co-Infection of Blacklegged Ticks with Babesia microti and Borrelia burgdorferi Is Higher than Expected and Acquired from Small Mammal Hosts; PLOS ONE, June 2014, Volume 9, Issue 6, e99348
Honsberger Nicole A. et al.: Efficacy of sarolaner in the prevention of Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum transmission from infected Ixodes scapularis to dogs. Vet. Parasitol (2016), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016./j.vetpar.206.02.010
Paul M. Lantos et al.: Detection of Bartonella Species in the Blood of Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians: A Newly Recognized Occupational Hazard?; VECTOR-BORNE AND ZOONOTIC DISEASES Volume 14, Number 8, 2014, DOI:10.1089/vbz.2013.1512
Erica Larson: Equine Lyme Neuroborreliosis: What We Know, What We Don’t; THE HORSE, Jul 08, 2014, Article 34157
Mc Cown ME et al.: Surveillance for Ehrlichia canis, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Borrelia burgdorferi, and Dirofilaria immitis in Dogs From Three Cities in Columbia; J Spec Oper Med. 2014 Spring; 14 (1):86-90
Magnarelli: The etiologic agent of LD in Deer Flies, Horse Flies and Mosquitoes. J Inf Dis. 54(2) p.355 ff, 1986
Magnarelli: Ticks and Biting Insects with the Etiologic Agent of L. Dis. Borrelia Burgdorferi. J Clin Microbiol. 1482-86, 1988
Lorraine Michelet et al.: High-throughput screening of tick-borne pathogens in Europe; Fronliers in Celluar and Infection Microbiology, Juli 2014, Volume 4, Article 103
Moroff S et al.: Detection of antibodies against Anaplasma phagocytophilum in dogs using an automated fluorescence based system, Vet J. 2014 Aug 19. pii: S1090-0233(14)00339-6. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2014.08.018. [Epub ahead of print]
Obsomer, V. et al.: Spatial disaggregation of tick occurence and ecology at a local scale as a preliminary step for spatial surveillance of tick born diseases: general framework and health implications in Belgium; in parasites&vectors, 22.6:190 Epub 2013, Jun. 22
Heather L. Priese et al.: Diagnosis of Borrelia-associated uveitis in two horses, Case report; Vererinary Ophahalmology (2012) 15, 6, 398-405
Susanne Schönert, A. Grabner: Lyme-Borreliose beim Pferd – aktueller Stand; PFERDE Vetkolleg
Susanne Schönert, Prof. Grabner: Untersuchungen zum direkten und indirekten Nachweis des Erregers der Lyme-Borreliose beim Pferd unter qualitätssichernden Aspekten; Dissertation Frei Uni Berlin 2004, http://www.diss.fu-berlin.de/diss/receive/FUDISS_thesis_000000002151
Gerold Stanek et al.: Lyme borreliosis; published online September 7, 2011 (www.thelancet.com, Vol379, Febr 4, 2012), DOI: 10.1016/SO140-6736(11)60103-7
Schramm F et al.: First detection of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato DNA in king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus halli); Ticks Tick Borne Dis. 2014 Oct;5(6):939-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ttbdis.2014.07.013. Epub 2014 Aug 20.
Scott John D et al.: Ticks parasitizing gallinaceous birds in Canada and first record of Borrelia burgdorferi-infected Ixodes pacificus (Acari: Ixodidae) from California Quail Systematic & Applied Acarology 21(1): 1–12 (2016); http://doi.org/10.11158/saa.21.1.1.
Reinhard K. Straubinger; PhD, Inke Krupka, Dr med vet: Lyme Borreliosis in Dogs and Cats: Background, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention of Infections with Borrelia burgdorferi sensu strict; Vet Clin Samall Anim 40 (2010) 1103-1119
Axel Teegler et al.: The relapsing fever Spirochete Borrelia miyamotoi resists complement-mediared killing human serum; Tick Tick-borne Dis (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2014.07.011
Volgina NS et al.: Prevalence of borrelioses, anaplasmosis, chrlichiosis and Diroflaria immitis in dogs and vectors in Voronezh Reserve (Russia); Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis. 2013 Dec; 36 (6): 567-74
Bettina Wagner et al.: Development of a multiplex assay for the detection of antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi in horses and its validation using Bayesian and conventional statistical methods; Jounal: Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 144 (2011) 374-381
Wächter M et al.: Seroprevalence of spotted Fever group rickettsiae in dogs in Germany; Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis. 2015 Mar;15(3):191-4. doi: 10.1089/vbz.2014.1715
You can reach us:
Mon – Fri : 8 am – 5 pm
Your contact person for laboratory reports:
Infectolab-Vet Laborbetriebs GmbH
Dr. med. vet. Norbert Wolff, Veterinarian, specialised veterinarian for horses
Your contact person for all other questions:
+49 (0) 821 455 982 17
+49 (0) 821 455 982 15
Infectolab-Vet Laborbetriebs GmbH
Geschäftsführer: Dr. med. vet. Norbert Wolff
+49 (0) 821 455 982 17
+49 (0) 821 455 982 15
Tax ID: 103/129/32445
Registry court: District Court, Augsburg HRB Nr. 29779
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