Leptospirosis is one of the most widespread zoonotic diseases in both humans and animals. Extensive studies have been conducted to investigate Leptospira in humans and different animal species, including cats. Although prevalence of leptospiral infection in cats had been reported in many countries, reliable information about cat’s leptospirosis in Malaysia seems to be insufficient.
The aim of this study was to detect the leptospiral infection in sheltered cats in Malaysia and to determine the predominant serovars among cats.
Seventy sheltered cats from four shelters were recruited in this study. Upon physical examination, cats were apparently healthy, but some cats (around 20 cats) showed mild signs of feline upper respiratory disease. Serological test for antibody detection by using Microscopic Agglutination Test (MAT) was performed. Sera were tested against 20 pathogenic serovars, namely; Australis, Autumnalis, Canicola, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Grippotyphosa, Pomona, Ballum, Copenhageni, Javanica, Bataviae, Hebdomadis, Hardjobovis, Hardjo-Prajitno, Lai, Tarassovi, Pyrogenes, Celledoni, Cynopteri, Djasiman, Malaysia Bejo-Iso9 and one non-pathogenic L. biflexa Patoc 1 strain.
Based on the cut-off point of 1:100, 14.29% of the cats (n=10/70) were tested seropositive to at least one serovar. Only one sera had co-agglutinations to both Javanica (1:400) and Bataviae (1:100). The predominant serovars found were Bataviae (n=4/70), Ballum (n=4/70), and Javanica (n=3/70), with titres ranged between 1:100 to 1:400.
This result shows that cats might remain clinically healthy despite seropositive against leptospiral infection. More studies are warranted in order to investigate the role of cats in the transmission of leptospirosis.