Meta-Analyses of Factors Associated with Leptospirosis in Domestic Dogs

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Factors related with leptospirosis in domestic dogs have been reported worldwide. The aims of this study were to identify factors associated with this disease described in different observational studies and to combine the coinciding factors in at least four studies using meta-analyses, to obtain a pooled odds ratio (OR) as measure of infection risk. A literature search was performed in electronic databases, electronic databases of specific journals and search engines to find studies published in English, Spanish and Portuguese available from January 1960 to January 2015. Two hundred and eighteen factors were identified in 31 publications including cross-sectional and case–control studies. Finally, independent meta-analyses were performed with six different variables, which included between 4 and 8 articles. The pooled OR indicated that the variables ‘mixed-breed dogs’, ‘flooding occurrence in the habitat of the dog’ and ‘working dogs’ were risk factors for leptospirosis, while ‘being a dog less than 1 year old’ was a protective factor; however, all these associations were not statistically significant. Otherwise, the variables ‘male dog’ and ‘urban dog’ were statistically significant risk factors for infection. This study highlights the need for more formal studies on the epidemiology of canine leptospirosis. Nevertheless, the study revealed that some risk factors for infection coincided in different observational studies. These factors could be considered to raise suspicion about the disease, especially when there is a history of exposure to the bacteria.

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