© 2018 British Small Animal Veterinary Association Objectives: To investigate evidence for selected vector-borne pathogen infections in dogs with pericardial effusion living in a Mediterranean area in which several canine vector-borne diseases are endemic. Materials and Methods: Archived EDTA blood (n=68) and pericardial fluid samples (n=58) from dogs with pericardial effusion (n=68) were included. Dogs without pericardial effusion examined for other reasons were included as controls (n=60). Pericardial effusion was classified as neoplastic in 40 dogs, idiopathic in 23 dogs and of unknown aetiology in 5 dogs. Real-time PCR was performed for Leishmania infantum, Ehrlichia/Anaplasma species, Hepatozoon canis, Babesia species, Rickettsia species and Bartonella species, and sequencing of PCR products from positive samples was used to confirm species specificity. Results: Vector-borne pathogens were found in 18 dogs: 16 of 68 dogs with pericardial effusion (23·5%) and two of 60 control dogs (3·3%). Positive dogs demonstrated DNA of Leishmania infantum (n=7), Anaplasma platys (n=2, one dog coinfected with Leishmania infantum), Babesia canis (n=5), Babesia gibsoni (n=3) and Hepatozoon canis (n=2). Vector-borne pathogens were more commonly detected among dogs with pericardial effusion than controls (P=0·001). There was no relationship between aetiology of the pericardial effusion and evidence of vector-borne pathogens (P=0·932). Clinical Significance: Vector-borne pathogens are often detected in dogs with pericardial effusion and require further investigation, especially in dogs with idiopathic pericardial effusion. PCR can provide additional information about the potential role of vector-borne pathogens in dogs with pericardial effusion living in endemic areas.