Hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. and Bartonella spp. are important vector-borne pathogens in cats.
The study aim was to use molecular techniques to investigate the presence of hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. and Bartonella spp. DNA in cats and fleas in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
A total of 98 blood samples and 22 pools (1–5 fleas per pool) of fleas were collected from cats visiting the Small Animal Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Chiang Mai University and from cats residing in a temple in Chiang Mai Province between June and November 2016. Polymerase chain reaction assays (PCR) targeting each pathogen were performed.
The overall prevalence rates for at least one pathogen in cats and fleas were 73.5% (72/98) and 68.2% (15/22), respectively. Hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. DNA was amplified from 34.7% of cats and 9.1% of fleas. Bartonella spp. DNA was amplified from 62.24% of cats and 63.6% of fleas, respectively. Of 72 positive cat samples, 38 contained only Bartonella spp. DNA, 11 contained only Mycoplasma spp. DNA, and 23 contained DNA of both pathogens. Of 15 positive flea pools, 13 contained only Bartonella spp. DNA, 1 contained only Mycoplasma spp. DNA, and 1 contained DNA of both pathogens.
The prevalence of hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. and Bartonella spp. in cats in Chiang Mai is high. Cats can be a potential reservoir for a zoonotic infection of Bartonella spp. in humans. Effective flea control in this population is suggested.