The performance of a serum PCR assay was compared with that of a blood PCR assay for the diagnosis of canine brucellosis caused by Brucella canis in 72 dogs. The dogs were classified into three groups (infected, non-infected and suspected brucellosis) according to the results of blood culture and serological tests. The sensitivities of blood PCR and serum PCR were, respectively, 97.14 per cent and 25.71 per cent. The specificities of both were 100 per cent. In the group of dogs with suspected brucellosis, three were positive by blood PCR and none was positive by serum PCR. Serum PCR showed little value for the direct diagnosis of canine brucellosis as the assay had low diagnostic sensitivity and fewer positive dogs were detected by this test than by blood culture, blood PCR, rapid slide agglutination test (RSAT) and RSAT with 2-mercaptoethanol.
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