First test for kennel cough culprit available

First test for kennel cough culprit available

THE world's first diagnostic test for canine pneumovirus, a unique culprit in "kennel cough," is now available at Cornell University's Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC).

The test is one of several available in AHDC's new canine respiratory panel, which offers a faster, easier and more accurate way to diagnose kennel cough -- respiratory diseases that often emerge in such places as shelters and kennels, where dogs live in close quarters. In such settings, a quick, correct diagnosis is critical to curbing outbreaks. Other methods of detecting culprits in respiratory cases take weeks of testing.

Discovered in 2008 at AHDC, canine pneumovirus causes cell death in patterns unlike other viruses commonly found in dogs. Veterinarians had no way of identifying it from among the many pathogens that cause canine respiratory illness -- until now.

"This is a great tool for handling respiratory outbreaks in dogs," Amy Glaser, AHDC molecular diagnostics laboratory director, said. "It can also detect multiple pathogens in a single sample. It greatly simplifies testing and will make it easier for veterinarians to get answers for their patients."

The panel uses polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis to identify the most common viruses and bacteria associated with canine respiratory disease. Detected pathogens include the canine viruses parainfluenza-5, respiratory coronavirus (beta coronavirus), pneumovirus, adenovirus (types 1 and 2), distemper and influenza. The panel also detects the bacteria Mycoplasma cynos and Bordatella bronchiseptica, which can also infect people.

Previously, AHDC could detect only canine influenza by PCR. Other canine respiratory pathogens were only detectable by isolation in cell or bacterial culture or by testing paired serum samples.

Developed by Cornell professor of virology Edward Dubovi and his team in AHDC's virology section, the new PCR panel can detect viruses that are difficult to detect by the former culture method.

Volume:85 Issue:17

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