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Abstract

Objective

To compare nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR), virus isolation (VI), and fluorescent antibody (FA) testing to detect feline herpesvirus (FHV) in cats with naturally acquired conjunctivitis or respiratory tract disease, or both.

Samples

Swab and microbrush specimens from the conjunctiva and throat were taken from 46 cats, allotted to 3 groups (conjunctivitis only, respiratory tract disease and conjunctivitis, and clinically normal).

Procedure

Cells from microbrush specimens were digested and herpesvirus DNA was amplified, using a double round of PCR. Products were detected by use of agarose gel electrophoresis. The VI and FA tests were performed in routine manner.

Results

Of 16 cats with conjunctivitis only, conjunctival specimens from 8 and throat specimens from 8 were FHV positive by PCR. None had positive results of VI or FA testing. Of 15 cats with respiratory tract disease and conjunctivitis, conjunctival specimens from 13 and throat specimens from 12 were FHV positive by PCR. A conjunctival specimen from 1 cat and throat specimens from 3 cats were FHV positive by VI. A conjunctival specimen from 1 cat was FHV positive by FA testing. Of 15 clinically normal cats, conjunctival and throat specimens from 2 cats were FHV positive by PCR; neither conjunctival nor throat specimens from these cats were FHV positive by VI or FA testing.

Conclusion

For cats with respiratory tract disease and conjunctivitis, or with conjunctivitis only, nested PCR was more sensitive at detecting FHV than was VI or FA testing.

Clinical Relevance

Nested PCR is a more sensitive test than the currently available VI and FA tests for identifying FHV in cats with conjunctivitis. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:804–807)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research

Abstract

Objective

To use a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) DNA in conjunctiva or cornea from clinically normal cats and cats with conjunctivitis or corneal sequestra.

Samples

Conjunctival snip biopsy specimens from 50 cats with conjunctivitis and 50 clinically normal cats; 28 keratectomy specimens from 26 cats with sequestra, and 13 specimens from clinically normal cats.

Procedure

Tissue specimens were digested, and FHV-1 DNA was amplified, using a double round of PCR. Products were visualized by use of agarose gel electrophoresis.

Results

Polymerase chain reaction was positive in 27 of 50 (54%) conjunctival specimens from cats with conjunctivitis and 6 of 50 (12%) specimens from clinically normal cats. Difference in the results between cats with conjunctivitis and clinically normal cats was statistically significant. Polymerase chain reaction was positive in 5 of 28 (18%) corneal specimens from cats with sequestra and 6 of 13 (46%) clinically normal cats. Distribution of positive results between clinically normal cats and those with sequestra was not significant.

Conclusion

Cats with conjunctivitis were more likely to have a positive PCR result than were clinically normal cats, making it likely that FHV-1 was associated with the disease state. Herpesvirus DNA could not be detected in most corneas from cats with sequestra.

Clinical Relevance

Polymerase chain reaction is a useful clinical test for identifying FHV-1 DNA in cats with conjunctivitis, yielding greater sensitivity over that of currently available tests. Herpesvirus may be less of a cause of corneal sequestration in the commonly affected breeds, Himalayan and Persian, than other factors, such as lagophthalmos or corneal metabolic defects. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:338–342)

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research