World's only dog test for a culprit in 'kennel cough'

March 28, 2013 by Carly Hodes
Canine pneumovirus filaments budding from a canine cell in the lab.

The world's first diagnostic test for canine pneumovirus, a unique culprit in "kennel cough"—canine respiratory illness common in shelters and kennels—is now available at Cornell's Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC).

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

Discovered in 2008 at the 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 causing canine respiratory illness until now.

"This is a great tool for handling respiratory outbreaks in dogs," said Amy Glaser, director of the AHDC's lab. "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 (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, (types 1 and 2), distemper and influenza. The panel also detects the bacteria Mycoplasma cynos and Bordatella bronchiseptica, which can infect humans.

Previously, only canine influenza could be detected by PCR at the AHDC. Other canine respiratory pathogens were only detectable by isolation in cell or or by testing paired serum samples. Developed by Edward Dubovi, professor of virology, and his team in the AHDC's virology section, the new PCR panel can detect viruses that are difficult to detect by the former culture method.

PCR tests can be ordered individually for $36.75, or as a panel at a discount rate of $115. Results are available in three to five business days after sample receipt at the lab. Interpretation services are always included.

To enable detection of both , the AHDC suggests submitting both a nasal and an oral pharyngeal swab. Swabs can be submitted together in a red-top tube with a few drops of saline or in commercial viral transport media. Aerobic culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing of swab samples are also available. Additional samples must be collected and submitted separately in a suitable bacterial transport medium such as Amies.

Explore further: FDA approves new respiratory virus test

Related Stories

FDA approves new respiratory virus test

January 21, 2008

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a test that detects four respiratory viruses, including the flu, in a patient's respiratory secretions.

Canine influenza was around as early as 1999

March 18, 2008

The canine influenza virus, first identified in 2004, had been circulating in the greyhound population for at least five years prior to its discovery and may have been responsible for numerous outbreaks of respiratory disease ...

Cornell offers only U.S. salmonella dublin test for cattle

November 1, 2012

Salmonella can cause serious disease on cattle farms, killing calves, causing cows to abort, contaminating raw milk and harming humans along the way. As the cattle-adapted strain salmonella dublin creeps into the northeastern ...

Recommended for you

Red clover genome to help restore sustainable farming

November 30, 2015

The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) in collaboration with IBERS, has sequenced and assembled the DNA of red clover to help breeders improve the beneficial traits of this important forage crop. The genome is published in Scientific ...

Scientists use CRISPR technology to edit crop genes

November 30, 2015

CRISPR gene-editing is allowing rapid scientific advances in many fields, including human health and now it has been shown that crop research can also benefit from this latest exciting technology.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.