Research Improves Diagnosis for Canine Influenza
For humans, flu shots are a common topic of discussion, but with regards to our furry friends, canine influenza rarely comes up during a chat by the water cooler and may not even come up during a routine veterinary visit. Yet the illness has been on the rise for the past five years. Although preventive treatment is often efficacious, scientists have struggled to find effective ways to diagnose this highly contagious respiratory infection in dogs, which can sometimes lead to life-threatening pneumonia and even death.
The diagnostic dilemma arises because the currently available vaccine uses inactivated antibodies to help the animal build immunity to the disease. This becomes problematic because the current method of diagnosis for canine influenza is based on the detection of antibodies that form in response to a viral infection. Current diagnostic tests can’t tell the difference between the inactive antibodies formed from the vaccine and those formed from a naturally occurring infection.
But that’s all changing, thanks to a study funded by Morris Animal Foundation at the University of Florida. The research validated a diagnostic test that can differentiate antibodies made by infected dogs from those made in response to vaccination, therefore ensuring that infected dogs will be properly treated and managed. Although the test—which could solve the dilemma—still hinges on the availability of a new vaccine that has yet to be released, it could also be useful for future epidemiologic studies of canine influenza infection.
Posted by MAFon January 24, 2011. Permalink