Development of a PCR test for T. ovis 

The diagnosis of T.ovis infection in dogs has previously been made through faecal examination following anthelmintic administration, intestinal purging using arecoline, and serology. Faecal examination after treatment with praziquantel has a low sensitivity, requires sequential faecal collection, and presumes the efficacy of the drug. Resistance to praziquantel has been reported in several species of cestodes, though has not been studied in T.ovis. It is conceivable that resistance is present in New Zealand given the widespread chronic use of the drug for decades. Intestinal purging with arecholine is associated with significant side effects, has a low sensitivity, and is no longer recommended. Finally, serology has a sensitivity of 78%, specificity of 63%, and dogs remain seropositive for many weeks after successful clearance.4 A simple, highly specific, and preferably highly sensitive assay is still needed for the diagnosis of T.ovis.

This project will develop a quantitative PCR test for the detection of T.ovis in the faeces of dogs. No such assay is currently available in New Zealand, or indeed anywhere in the world as a commercial assay.

Researchers : Nick Cave

Contact Person : Nick Cave | N.J.Cave@massey.ac.nz 

Institution : Massey University Working Dog Centre

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