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Vet Microbiol. 2009 Sep 18;138(3-4):390-3. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.04.015. Epub 2009 Apr 19.

Evaluation of a serum-based PCR assay for the diagnosis of canine monocytic ehrlichiosis.

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Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.


The aim of this study was to estimate the relative diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay in the serum of dogs with naturally occurring non-myelosuppressive canine monocytic ehrlichiosis (CME), and to investigate the association between PCR positivity and immunofluorescence antibody (IFA) titres for Ehrlichia canis. Serum samples obtained from 38 dogs with non-myelosuppressive CME and 12 healthy dogs were analyzed retrospectively. Each serum sample was analyzed in triplicate using an E. canis-specific nested PCR assay targeting a 389bp sequence of the 16S rRNA gene. E. canis DNA was amplified in 24 of 38 (63.1%) affected dogs; all samples from healthy dogs were negative. A high level of agreement was found among the PCR replicates (P<0.0001). Median IFA titre of the 24 PCR-positive dogs was significantly lower than that of the PCR-negative infected dogs (P=0.0029), indicating that E. canis DNA may circulate prior to the development of a high antibody titre. Serum-based PCR analysis is suggested for the early diagnosis of CME when whole blood samples are not available.

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