Widespread infection with hemotropic mycoplasmas in free-ranging dogs and wild foxes across six bioclimatic regions of chile

Sophia Di Cataldo, Aitor Cevidanes, Claudia Ulloa-Contreras, Irene Sacristán, Diego Peñaloza-Madrid, Juliana Vianna, Daniel González-Acuña, Nicole Sallaberry-Pincheira, Javier Cabello, Constanza Napolitano, Ezequiel Hidalgo-Hermoso, Gerardo Acosta-Jamett, Javier Millán

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Blood samples of 626 rural dogs, 140 Andean foxes (Lycalopex culpaeus), and 83 South American grey foxes (L. griseus) from six bioregions of Chile spanning 3000 km were screened for Mycoplasma DNA by conventional PCR and sequencing. Risk factors of infection were inferred using Generalized Linear Mixed Models and genetic structure by network analyses. Overall, Mycoplasma haemocanis/Mycoplasma haemofelis (Mhc/Mhf) and Candidatus Mycoplasma haematoparvum (CMhp) observed prevalence was 23.8% and 12.8% in dogs, 20.1% and 7.2% in Andean foxes, and 26.5% and 8.4% in grey foxes, respectively. Both hemoplasmas were confirmed in all the bioregions, with higher prevalence in those where ticks from the Rhipicephalus sanguineus species group were absent. Candidatus M. haematominutum and a Mycoplasma sp. previously found in South American carnivores were detected in one fox each. Although the most prevalent Mhc/Mhf and CMhp sequence types were shared between dogs and foxes, network analysis revealed genetic structure of Mhc/Mhf between hosts in some regions. Male sex was associated with a higher risk of Mhc/Mhf and CMhp infection in dogs, and adult age with CMhp infection, suggesting that direct transmission is relevant. No risk factor was identified in foxes. Our study provides novel information about canine hemoplasmas with relevance in distribution, transmission routes, and cross-species transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number919
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • Canidae
  • Chilla
  • Culpeo
  • Mollicutes
  • South America

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology


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