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Use of conjunctival swabs to detect Leishmania infection in dogs

G. Lombardo, M. Grazia Pennisi, T. Lupo, A. Migliazzo, A. Caprì, L. Solano-Gallego

PCR for the detection of Leishmania DNA has shown good sensitivity when using certain invasive samples, such as lymph node or bone marrow; however, non-invasive samples that could be used would be of benefit. This study evaluated the use of conjunctival and oral swab samples to diagnose leishmaniosis in dogs.

A total of 163 dogs from one of four regions in Sicily, where leishmaniosis is endemic, were enrolled in the study. Sixty-one dogs were from dog shelters and 102 were client-owned. Blood, lymph node, conjunctival and oral samples were collected from each dog and frozen at −20°C until analysis. Conjunctival swabs were rubbed against the surface of the lower eyelid, while oral swabs were placed against the internal surface of the dog's cheek and firmly rolled against it. DNA was extracted from each sample and underwent PCR and sequencing for the detection of Leishmania infantum. Serum samples underwent immunofluorescence antibody testing for IgG antibodies to L infantum antigen. In addition, 84 dogs had delayed-type hypersensitivity testing for a reaction to leishmanin antigen. …

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