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A blind test of the serological response of dogs to infection with Taenia ovis

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Fifty six dogs of mixed age and sex were acquired from farms in the Otago/Southland region, and maintained at the Hydatid Research Unit, Taieri, where 43 were each fed two Tueniu ovis cysts. All were bled fortnightly for six or 12 weeks. Coded sera were sent to Wallaceville Animal Research Centre for testing using ELISA, with antigen from T. ovis scoleces. Dog treatments were identified after all tests were complete. A discriminant level was derived from the mean absorbance value plus three standard deviations of 56 sera taken at time zero and 78 sera from serially bled uninfected dogs. None of these 134 sera registered as a false positive using this discriminant level. The data showed no significant deviation from normality, and the expected frequency of the occurrence of false positives is therefore less than 0.14%. Four weeks after infection 63% of dogs proved to be infected were serologically positive, rising to 78% after 6 weeks. When worms were removed by anthelmintic treatment, ELISA absorbance levels decreased. Four weeks after removal 70% of previously infected dogs remained positive, decreasing to 30% after 6 weeks. Six weeks after infection the sensitivity of the test was 78%, and the specificity 63%. However, if dogs with positive ELISA absorbance levels, but which did not purge worms, were regarded as having had worms, the respective figures would be 82% and 100%. The latter figures are similar to our previously published laboratory results. The test is of comparable efficiency to arecoline purgation for surveillance, and has the additional advantage of detecting infection in the majority of those dogs that have been infected for three weeks or more but fail to pass worms on purgation, and a substantial proportion of those infected dogs that were treated by their owners prior to presenting them for purgation in order to avoid detection of infection.
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Keywords: Cestodes; Dog; Gastrointestinal; Parasitology - internal; Serology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 September 1988

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