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Vector Borne Disease Diagnostic Laboratory

**Bulletin**
We are excited about the opportunities given to us as more referring veterinarians are selecting the more comprehensive panels! Historically, the window of opportunity to detect rickettsial pathogens in blood by PCR has been short and many veterinarians have opted to rely upon serology over PCR. With more panels being run by the VBDDL, coupled with improvements in our PCR methods, we are pleased to note that, recently, 3 R. felis infections have been detected in dogs! The R.felis exposures seem to be coming out of the Caribbean and southeastern US states. The presence of R.felis in this region is supported by sequences deposited by Lee,S. et al recently in GenBank in which R.felis (clone Aa2FT247-16) was amplified from ticks in NC. We thank our clients for giving us the chance to contribute to the health of our companion animals by requesting comprehensive testing!

Latest Changes in the VBDDL, CVM-NCSU, 2015

Comprehensive molecular and serological panels, targeting multiple pathogens rather than a single infection, may identify overlooked or co-infecting microorganisms, thus potentially affecting treatment or management strategies in your patients. Since January 2013, we have offered Canine or Feline Comprehensive Panels that detect antibodies against 12 known species and detect the presence, within circulating blood or submitted tissues, of disease-causing organisms from 5 pathogenic genera. We offer this $385 value at a greater than 50% discount! Results of recent studies support the use of PCR and serological assays in parallel as likely to increase the detection of infection with or exposure to Canine Vector Borne Diseases by 60% in some populations of vector exposed dogs. (Maggi RG, Birkenheuer AJ, Hegarty BC, Bradley JM, Levy MG, Breitschwerdt EB. 2014. Advantages and limitations of serological and molecular panels for the diagnosis of vector-borne infectious diseases in dogs. Parasites & Vectors. 7:127.

We are continuously engaged in efforts to improve our PCR assays. This year, the VBDDL developed a quantitative PCR (qPCR) for detection and discrimination of spotted fever and typhus group Rickettsia spp. in diagnostic samples. Since converting to the new qPCR, the VBDDL has detected R. rickettsia in 6 dogs; R. amblyommii in an A. amblyomma tick; and R. honei in a human sample from Australia. Recently improvements in Bartonella qPCR have made it possible to detect B.clarridgeiae and B.rochalimae in diagnostic samples. Furthermore, we recently completed the development and validation of new Ehrlichia and Anaplasma genera and species-specific qPCR assays, which have been implemented in our diagnostic panels. Our Babesia PCR has confirmed detection of B.conradae as well as B.canis, B.gibsoni, B.odicoilei, and B.coco. The addition of hemotropic mycoplasma to the panel has resulted in the detection of numerous M.haemominutum, M.hemoparvum, M.hemocanis and M.hemofelis (in descending order of prevalence).

Samples to send: paired serum and EDTA whole blood (2mls each). To submit samples for testing through our lab, please download our most recent TEST REQUEST FORM with instructions.

lab staff

VBDDL logo

 

Donations

 

Staff Members

Advisory Panel:

Lab Supervisor:

Barbara Hegarty, BA

Sample Receiving and Reporting:

Jackie York

Bartonella, Borrelia, and Rickettsia Serology Testing:

Julie Bradley, RVMT, and Patricia Faw, MLT

Babesia, Ehrlichia, and Leishmania Serology Testing:

Kaye Gore, MLT

Molecular (PCR) Testing

Brittany Thomas, BS

Statement of Intentions

The focus of the NCSU VBDDL is research to benefit animal health. It is our intention to provide quality answers to diagnostic questions. The assays, antigens and controls used are developed and validated as a component of our research. We reserve the right to modify methods or reagents as needed to achieve the best analysis possible without reliance on any proprietary method or reagents.

It is our intention to give each case with which we become involved the highest quality and attention possible. We will handle the sample with care and appropriate speed to obtain the most informative and accurate result. We intend to collect and utilize descriptive information imparted with that sample (address, age, breed, sex, history) in ways that reveal the useful and pertinent context for the diseases we study without divulging information in any way that might insult or harm the animal, owner, or veterinarian concerned.

The VBDDL utilizes PCR in many of our diagnostic tests. It can be extremely sensitive and specific, making it an effective diagnostic tool. Very few diagnostic assays are 100% sensitive and 100% specific, including PCR, and while uncommon, false negatives and false positives can occur. A false negative result may occur when an organism is present in the animal but is not detected. This can happen if the pathogen is not present in the particular blood or tissue sample that was collected or is present but below the assay's limit of detection. Alternatively, PCRs can give false positive results, either through accidental contamination or priming and amplification of untargeted DNA. To minimize false results, the VBDDL uses multiple PCR assays and DNA sequence analysis to identify the presence of pathogen DNA in blood or tissue samples and utilizes strict guidelines to prevent DNA contamination. If a referring veterinarian receives results from our service that in the context of an animal's disease do not make sense, we would be happy to investigate further and provide verification of the sample in question.

Legal Notice

The focus of the NCSU VBDDL is research to benefit animal health.  It is our intention to provide quality answers to diagnostic questions.  The assays, antigens and controls used are developed and validated as a component of our research. We reserve the right to modify methods or reagents as needed to achieve the best analysis possible without reliance on any proprietary method or reagents.

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