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  • Author or Editor: Ann C. Melli x
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Objective—To evaluate a modified Ziehl-Neelsen acid-fast staining technique (mZN), a direct immunofluorescence detection procedure (DIF), and 3 commercial enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) for detection of Cryptosporidium oocysts in fecal specimens from kittens.

Design—Prospective study.

Sample Population—416 fecal specimens collected from 104 randomly selected domestic shorthair kittens (8 to 16 weeks of age) that were naturally exposed to Cryptosporidium spp.

Procedure—Fresh fecal specimens were collected once daily for 4 consecutive days and processed immediately. Sensitivities of mZN, DIF, and 3 commercial EIAs (EIA-1, EIA-2, and EIA-3) were estimated and compared.

Results—EIA-2 had the highest sensitivity on day 1 (89%), followed by EIA-1 (80%), and mZN (72%). EIA- 3 had the lowest sensitivity on day 1 (15%). EIA-2, EIA- 1, and mZN had similar sensitivities after 2 consecutive fecal examinations (approx 90%). Determination of specificities was compromised by the small number of cats that had negative results for all tests (n = 3).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that EIA-2 and EIA-1 had the highest sensitivities when only a single fecal specimen was examined; however, mZN and EIA-1 had similar sensitivities when 2 consecutive fecal specimens were examined. The higher costs of EIA-2 and EIA-1 may be offset by the tests’ high sensitivity, simplicity of use, and ease of interpretation and by savings in technician time. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:1549–1553)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objectives—To assess the diagnostic yield of a routine fecal panel and determine whether Clostridium perfringens or C difficile toxin production is associated with acute hemorrhagic diarrheal syndrome (AHDS) in dogs.

Design—Case-control study.

Animals—260 dogs with diarrhea and 177 dogs with normal feces.

Procedure—Medical records were reviewed for results of culture for C difficile, Campylobacter spp, and Salmonella spp; C perfringens fecal enterotoxin (CPE) assay via ELISA or reverse passive latex agglutination (RPLA) assay; fecal endospore enumeration; C difficile toxin A assay; and parasite evaluation.

Results—Prevalence of CPE in dogs with diarrhea was 22/154 (14.3%) via ELISA and 47/104 (45.2%) via RPLA assay, versus 9/74 (12%) via ELISA and 26/103 (25%) via RPLA assay in control dogs. Prevalence of C difficile was 47/260 (18%) in dogs with diarrhea and 41/74 (55%) in control dogs. Prevalence of C difficile toxin A was 26/254 (10.2%) in dogs with diarrhea and 0/74 in control dogs. Diagnosis of AHDS was made in 27 dogs; 8 had positive results for CPE, 7 had positive results for toxin A, and 1 had positive results for both toxins. Campylobacter spp were isolated from 13 of 260 (5%) dogs with diarrhea and 21 of 74 (28.4%) control dogs. Salmonella spp were isolated from 3 (1.2%) dogs with diarrhea.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Diagnostic value of a fecal panel in dogs with diarrhea appears to be low. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;221:52–59)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


To assess the prevalence of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin in feces of dogs with and without diarrhea, and to compare the use of microbial cultures from fecal specimens and evaluation of stained fecal smears for endospores with the presence of enterotoxin as tools for diagnosing C perfringens-associated diarrhea.


Prospective study.


144 dogs representing hospitalized dogs with (n = 41) or without (50) diarrhea, and clinically normal dogs treated as outpatients (53).


Fresh fecal specimens from all dogs were examined as Gram-stained fecal smears to determine numbers of Gram-positive spore-forming rods/100X objective field. Enterotoxin was assayed directly by use of a reverse passive latex agglutination assay. Fecal specimens were plated directly to prereduced egg yolk agar plates and incubated overnight at 37 C in an anaerobic chamber. At 24 hours, up to 3 lecithinase-positive colonies were subcultured to Brucella blood agar to evaluate for double zone hemolysis. Colonies with double zone hemolysis were tested for aerotolerance and Gram-stained.


A significant difference was not detected among groups with respect to the presence of C perfringens as determined by culture, the presence of endospores, and the reaction patterns of fecal enterotoxin assays. An association was not found between number of endospores and the presence of fecal enterotoxin.

Clinical Implications

The presence of C perfringens enterotoxin in feces of dogs, as detected by the latex agglutination assay used in this study, correlates poorly with the number of fecal endospores, regardless of the dog's clinical status. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1999;214:357–360)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To estimate the analytic sensitivity of microscopic detection of Toxoplasma gondii oocysts and the environmental loading of T gondii oocysts on the basis of prevalence of shedding by owned and unowned cats.

Design—Cross-sectional survey.

Sample Population—326 fecal samples from cats.

Procedures—Fecal samples were collected from cat shelters, veterinary clinics, cat-owning households, and outdoor locations and tested via ZnSO4 fecal flotation.

Results—Only 3 (0.9%) samples of feces from 326 cats in the Morro Bay area of California contained T gondii–like oocysts. On the basis of the estimated tonnage of cat feces deposited outdoors in this area, the annual burden in the environment was estimated to be 94 to 4,671 oocysts/m2 (9 to 434 oocysts/ft2).

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Despite the low prevalence and short duration of T gondii oocyst shedding by cats detected in the present and former surveys, the sheer numbers of oocysts shed by cats during initial infection could lead to substantial environmental contamination. Veterinarians may wish to make cat owners aware of the potential threats to human and wildlife health posed by cats permitted to defecate outdoors.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association