PCR Testing: The Gold Standard for Companion Animals

by | Jan 20, 2022 | Veterinary Diagnostics

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While COVID-19 edges its way into impacting every aspect of human lives for a third year running, people are warming up to the term PCR testing and why it’s so important. PCR testing is not just tied to detecting SARS-CoV-2 virus. It has a place in veterinary diagnostics as well. While human clinical environments have been dealing with delays due to lack of access to reference laboratories, so too have veterinary clinics across the country.

Veterinary clinics need to evolve to meet the demand of the consumer who is looking to replicate the “Amazon-like” experience of fast and accurate result that are easy to obtain. Most pet infections are detectable with simple measures, including fast, easy-to-use, in-clinic veterinary diagnostic testing. Of the top 10 reasons for a veterinary visit[i], canine or feline, more than half are addressable by LexaGene’s MiQLab™ System, a molecular point-of-care PCR diagnostic’s testing system.

What is PCR?

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a nucleic acid-based technique that enables rapid and sensitive detection of specific micro-organisms.[ii] Widely used in research, immediate access is still somewhat of a novelty for veterinarians, as they are used to a laborious process of sending culture samples to outside laboratories. This often takes days or weeks for the culture to grow and the specific pathogen, such as a virus or a bacterium, to be identified. However, advances in sample preparation together with the increasing availability of specific gene sequences have led to the more widespread use of PCR. In fact, PCR is likely to have a strong impact in the epidemiology, treatment, and prevention of animal infectious diseases.[iii]

In-Clinic PCR Testing is Ideal for Diagnostic Stewardship

Researchers at the Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory wrote more than a decade ago, “PCR assays can be more sensitive than other available assays. In addition, PCR assay results can often be returned within 24 hours of sample submission, which is generally quicker than culture”.[iv] Today, the technology of real-time PCR is available. Bringing reference lab quality diagnostics and rapid results in-clinic is now within the reach for all veterinarians.

“We were able to run the Bacterial and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) Test on the MiQLab System which provided us with a clear understanding that not only was there bacteria present in the abdomen but also identified a strong indication that routine antibiotic therapy would be insufficient. This enabled us to quickly make critical decisions for the proper treatment.” Mid-Atlantic accredited veterinary medical school operating an emergency clinic

Additionally, with an in-clinic solution, the veterinary clinic can exert greater controls over time-to-result, testing flexibility, and diagnostic revenue.

How MiQLab Works

MiQLab is an automated, multiplexed PCR platform detecting up to 27 pathogens and antimicrobial markers in ~2 hours. Early diagnosis and detection reduce the risk of relapse and return visits to the vet clinic, improving the animal’s pathway to wellness, and increasing the pet owner’s satisfaction. It’s intuitive user interface reduces sample prep time and eliminates specialized training or personnel, which can lead to better control and potential profitability for clinics who already operate with zero to minimum margins. Rapid screening enables immediate targeted antibiotic therapy while minimizing the spread of infection.

If you want to learn more about how you can manage the harness the power of in-clinic PCR testing in the detection of infectious disease through molecular diagnostic testing, check out our vet-specific resources.

[i] https://www.avma.org/javma-news/2006-09-01/top-10-reasons-pets-visit-veterinarians
[ii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9232118/
[iii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9232118/
[iv] http://csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu/Documents/vdl-lablines-volume-15-issue-01.pdf

<a href="https://lexagene.com/author/marketingdirector/" target="_self">Gail Winslow</a>

Gail Winslow

Gail Winslow is the Director of Marketing and human mother to Piper, an English Cream Golden Retriever and Honey, a short-haired Tabby cat. She’s enthusiastic about bringing the message of LexaGene’s technology to the market and wants pet owners to know solutions to low-cost diagnostics and treatment plans are within their grasp. To learn more about LexaGene, explore our website. To connect with Gail, find her on LinkedIn or email her at gwinslow@lexagene.com.

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