Coproantigen Detection Augments Diagnosis of Common Nematode Infections in Dogs
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Microscopic methods which employ active or passive flotation have been used to detect parasite diagnostic stages in the feces of companion animals for many years. More recently, coproantigen ELISAs for the detection of excretory/secretory products from intestinal nematodes have been introduced. These assays can identify the presence of parasites when eggs are not recovered by flotation (e.g. prepatent infection or intermittent egg shedding). The study was designed to assess the added benefit of these coproantigen tests in canine fecal diagnostics. The work was performed at 3 separate sites where canine fecal samples were each independently evaluated by both centrifugal flotation with an expert examiner (CFE) and passive flotation with a less experienced examiner. All samples were also tested using coproantigen ELISA to detect ascarid, hookworm, or whipworm antigen (IDEXX Laboratories, Inc, Westbrook, Maine). A total of 1202 samples were collected; 626 were from shelter dogs and 576 were from pet dogs. CFE recovered ascarid eggs in 58 samples, hookworm eggs in 229 samples, and whipworm eggs in 95 samples. Of the positive samples identified by CFE, the PFE and ELISA identified 40 and 51 ascarid samples, 188 and 203 hookworm samples, and 65 and 67 whipworm positive samples, respectively. The coproantigen ELISA identified 8 ascarid, 82 hookworm, and 22 whipworm positive samples that were not detected by CFE. The combined results of passive flotation and the coproantigen ELISA improved the percent agreement with centrifugal flotation, suggesting that greater sensitivity of detection may be achieved through the use of complementary diagnostic methods. However, errors of misidentification and poor recovery apparently introduced by less experienced examiners using an inferior flotation method remained. A diagnostic approach that combines coproantigen assays with centrifugal flotation and examination by an expert allows detection of more ascarid, hookworm, and whipworm infections.
author list (cited authors)
Little, S. E., Barrett, A. W., Beall, M. J., Bowman, D. D., Dangoudoubiyam, S., Elsemore, D. A., ... Tasse, S.