Update on molecular techniques for diagnostic testing of infectious disease

  • Sellon R
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The era of diagnostic molecular biology has arrived for small animal clinicians, and it is a near certainty that assays such as the PCR and RT-PCR will become more widely available for a wider array of infectious agents. Already there is an extensive list of infectious diseases of dogs and cats that have been investigated with molecular tools. A partial list is included in box 1. An understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of the molecular techniques and some of the questions these techniques can answer for clinicians can serve practitioners well in their approach to the diagnosis of infectious diseases in dogs and cats. It is likely that additional applications of these tools to small animal medicine will become apparent as investigators use and refine them for their research purposes, or as new uses emerge from human medical applications. Clinicians also are likely to reap the benefits of this knowledge. Because samples often are acquired easily from clinical patients in most practice settings, access to these tools puts all clinicians in the group of discoverers of new, or variations of, infectious diseases and their clinical manifestations.

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  • Rance K. Sellon

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