UC-Davis offers testing for canine influenza virus

Published on January 01, 2006
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The Lucy Whittier Molecular and Diagnostic Core Facility at the University of California-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has developed a quick molecular diagnostic assay for detection of canine influenza virus.

"Similar to human influenza, canine influenza is a seasonal infectious disease," said Dr. Christian M. Leutenegger, director of the Lucy Whittier Molecular and Diagnostic Core Facility. "... To act (rapidly) in the case of an outbreak, fast diagnostic assays are required, which are able to detect the cause of the outbreak within hours."

Veterinarians can send deep pharyngeal swab samples taken within the first 72 hours of onset of clinical signs to be tested with a validated, real-time polymerase chain reaction assay.

"Real-time PCR (assay) is a second-generation PCR method offering significant advantages to the conventional PCR (assay) most diagnostic labs are still using, including significantly reduced risk for false-positive results due to laboratory contamination," Dr. Leutenegger said.

Only one other company offers a molecular diagnostic test for canine influenza virus, Dr. Leutenegger continued. "That assay uses a non-amplification detection method and only canine influenza virus is tested and none of the other pathogens causing kennel cough-like symptoms," he said.

The real-time PCR assay is offered as part of a canine respiratory panel targeting a group of common infectious causes for kennel cough, including Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine adenovirus type-2, canine parainfluenza virus, canine herpesvirus, and canine distemper virus.

Turnaround time for a canine respiratory panel result is 24 to 48 hours and costs $75 per sample. For sample submission forms, call (530) 752-7991 or log on to www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/vme/taqmanservice.