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Detection of Epstein-Barr virus infection in dogs and cats

G. Milman, K. C. Smith, K. Erles

EPSTEIN-BARR virus (EBV) infection is common in human beings worldwide and has been linked to Burkitt's and Hodgkin's lymphoma. Evidence of EBV in pet dogs in Taiwan was reported in 2005. This study determined whether EBV, a g-herpesvirus, was present in other dog and cat populations, and whether EBV infection was associated with lymphoma in dogs.

Serum samples collected from 112 dogs in the UK, 104 dogs in the USA, and 54 cats in the UK, were tested by immunofluorescence assay for the presence of antibodies to EBV. Blood samples from 50 dogs, tissue samples from the palatine tonsil of 104 dogs, and biopsy samples from 33 dogs with histologically confirmed lymphoma, were analysed by PCR. PCR assays were conducted using both EBV-specific and consensus herpesvirus primers, for the detection of EBV-related viruses. Canine blood samples from EBV antibody-positive dogs were analysed by RT-PCR for the presence of transcripts associated with lytic EBV infection (BcLF1) or latency (LMP2).

Antibodies to EBV or an EBV-like virus were detected in 38.4 per cent of serum samples from dogs in the UK, …

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