Leptospira spp. in cats from tropical Mexico
Antonio Ortega-Pacheco1*, Eduardo Gutiérrez-Blanco1
, Wendy Cauich-Mendez1
, Matilde Jiménez-Coello3
The natural exposure of domestic cats to Leptospira spp. and some associated risk factors were
studied in a large city from tropical Mexico. Two hundred and sixty blood samples were collected
from clinically healthy cats in Merida Yucatan, Mexico, and tested for 13 leptospira serovars by using
the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). Forty-six (17.7%) of the cats were serologically positive
to some of the antigens of seven serovars, particularly australis (54.3%), pyrogenes (15.3%),
gryppotyphosa (13%) and others. Titters recorded were within 1:100 and 1:200. No clinical signs of
the disease were observed in the cats. Cats with no access to outdoors were more prone to become in
contact with the agent (P<0.01). There is a wide distribution of Leptospira spp. in the population of
owned cats in the studied tropical area, particularly the serovar australis. These results give important
information about the epidemiology of leptospirosis, including the role of cats as a potential reservoir.
Keywords: Leptospira australis, domestic cats, tropics, Mexico.