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Prevalence of feline herpesvirus 1, Chlamydophila felis, and Mycoplasma spp DNA in conjunctival cells collected from cats with and without conjunctivitis

Heather C. Low DVM, MS1, Cynthia C. Powell DVM, MS2, Julia K. Veir DVM, PhD3, Jennifer R. Hawley BS4, and Michael R. Lappin DVM, PhD5
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  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 4 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.
  • | 5 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Abstract

Objective—To use PCR assays to determine the prevalence of feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV-1), Chlamydophila felis, and Mycoplasma spp DNA in conjunctival cells collected from cats with and without conjunctivitis; to compare results of conventional and real-time fluorogenic PCR assays for amplification of FHV-1 DNA; and to determine whether copy numbers of FHV-1 DNA are correlated with conjunctivitis.

Animals—55 cats with active conjunctivitis, 39 healthy cats that never had conjunctivitis, and 32 cats with a history of conjunctivitis that had been resolved for at least 3 months.

Procedures—Samples were obtained by rolling cotton-tipped applicators on the ventral conjunctiva of awake cats treated topically with proparacaine. The DNA was extracted from the swab specimens and assessed in PCR assays to detect DNA of FHV-1 (fluorogenic PCR assay and conventional PCR assay), Mycoplasma spp (conventional PCR assay), and C felis (conventional PCR assay).

Results—Overall prevalence rates of FHV-1, C felis, and Mycoplasma spp as assessed by the conventional PCR assays were 6.7%, 3.2%, and 9.6%, respectively. Percentage concordance between conventional PCR and fluorogenic PCR assays for FHV-1 was 92.5%. There were no significant differences among the 3 groups of cats for the mean copy number of FHV-1 divided by the copy number of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase.

Conclusions and Clinical RelevanceMycoplasma spp were the most prevalent organism detected and was associated with conjunctivitis. This study could not confirm that there are increased copy numbers of FHV-1 DNA in cats with conjunctivitis, compared with the copy numbers for cats without conjunctivitis.

Abstract

Objective—To use PCR assays to determine the prevalence of feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV-1), Chlamydophila felis, and Mycoplasma spp DNA in conjunctival cells collected from cats with and without conjunctivitis; to compare results of conventional and real-time fluorogenic PCR assays for amplification of FHV-1 DNA; and to determine whether copy numbers of FHV-1 DNA are correlated with conjunctivitis.

Animals—55 cats with active conjunctivitis, 39 healthy cats that never had conjunctivitis, and 32 cats with a history of conjunctivitis that had been resolved for at least 3 months.

Procedures—Samples were obtained by rolling cotton-tipped applicators on the ventral conjunctiva of awake cats treated topically with proparacaine. The DNA was extracted from the swab specimens and assessed in PCR assays to detect DNA of FHV-1 (fluorogenic PCR assay and conventional PCR assay), Mycoplasma spp (conventional PCR assay), and C felis (conventional PCR assay).

Results—Overall prevalence rates of FHV-1, C felis, and Mycoplasma spp as assessed by the conventional PCR assays were 6.7%, 3.2%, and 9.6%, respectively. Percentage concordance between conventional PCR and fluorogenic PCR assays for FHV-1 was 92.5%. There were no significant differences among the 3 groups of cats for the mean copy number of FHV-1 divided by the copy number of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase.

Conclusions and Clinical RelevanceMycoplasma spp were the most prevalent organism detected and was associated with conjunctivitis. This study could not confirm that there are increased copy numbers of FHV-1 DNA in cats with conjunctivitis, compared with the copy numbers for cats without conjunctivitis.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Low's present address is WestVet Emergency and Specialty Center, 5019 N Sawyer Ave, Garden City, ID 83714.

Supported by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists.

The authors thank Dr. Brady Okes for technical assistance.

Address correspondence to Dr. Powell.