An Improved Point-of-Care ELISA for the Diagnosis of Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis During the Acute Phase of Tick-Borne Infections in Dogs

Top Companion Anim Med. 2022 Nov-Dec;51:100735. doi: 10.1016/j.tcam.2022.100735. Epub 2022 Oct 20.


Veterinarians often test for serologic evidence of vector-borne infections in sick dogs presenting with clinical signs or to screen for subclinical chronic infections. Additional peptide targets for the detection of antibodies to Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Anaplasma platys, and Ehrlichia canis were added to an existing point-of-care (POC) ELISA test (SNAP 4Dx Plus Test, IDEXX Laboratories, Westbrook, ME). This second-generation, multi-analyte test detects Dirofilaria immitis antigen and antibodies to Anaplasma spp., Borrelia burgdorferi, and Ehrlichia spp. The second-generation test is expected to better meet the needs of practicing veterinarians and their patients. To assess this expectation, the second-generation POC test was evaluated with serum samples from experimentally infected dogs and a broader field population of dogs. Compared to the first-generation test, most dogs experimentally infected with A phagocytophilum (n = 7/8), A platys (n = 4/6), or E canis (n = 4/6) had detectable antibody responses 3-22 days earlier post-infection; these results demonstrated better alignment with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification results and the onset of clinical signs. Using a convenience sample set of 510 sera from both academic and commercial veterinary diagnostic laboratories, the second-generation test had sensitivities greater than 90% for Anaplasma spp. (94.1%), B burgdorferi (95.5%), Ehrlichia spp. (93.4%) and D immitis (98.0%). Specificity ranged from 96.8% - 100% across the four assays. Results from this study demonstrate that the second-generation POC ELISA had an improved ability to detect serologic responses during the acute phase of A phagocytophilum, A platys, and E canis experimental infections. The results from the broader field samples support overall high sensitivity and specificity, consistent with the historical performance of the first-generation POC ELISA test.

Keywords: Antibody; Infectious canine cyclic thrombocytopenia; PCR; Serology.

MeSH terms

  • Anaplasmosis*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Dirofilaria immitis*
  • Dirofilariasis* / diagnosis
  • Dog Diseases*
  • Dogs
  • Ehrlichia
  • Ehrlichiosis* / diagnosis
  • Ehrlichiosis* / veterinary
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / veterinary
  • Lyme Disease* / diagnosis
  • Lyme Disease* / veterinary
  • Point-of-Care Systems
  • Tick-Borne Diseases* / veterinary


  • Antibodies, Bacterial