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W19-003: Optimization of the Diagnosis of Feline Parvovirus (Panleukopenia) Infection in a Shelter Environment

Feline parvovirus/feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) is a highly contagious pathogen that can affect cats of all ages, with the highest mortality occurring in kittens. In shelters, FPV is a leading cause of severe illness, mortality, outbreaks and closures. There is currently no widely available commercial point-of-care test that is validated for the diagnosis of FPV infection. Few studies of diagnostic tests for FPV have been carried out in a shelter environment, where vaccination is frequent and co-infections are common. Diarrhea is a less reliable finding in FPV than in canine parvovirus infection, and occurs later in the disease course. However, fecal samples are recommended for commercial tests, and other potential samples or sampling methods have not been tested or validated.

The objectives of the study are to optimize early and reliable diagnosis of feline parvovirus (FPV) infection in the shelter setting, by:

(1) Comparing the results of a commercial point-of-care canine parvovirus fecal antigen test with commercial FPV real-time PCR (RT-PCR) as the gold standard

(2) Assessing the utility of vomitus and direct anal/rectal swab samples for early diagnosis of FPV using the fecal antigen test and RT-PCR

(3) Determining the frequency of vaccine-related false positive results when using a typical shelter vaccination protocol, for the fecal antigen test and RT-PCR

Optimized testing for FPV will help shelters to quickly and accurately identify, isolate and treat infected animals, and avoid unnecessary isolation, quarantine, euthanasia and shelter closures.

Grant ID: W19-003

Status: Active

Year Funded: 2019

Amount awarded: $21,500

Investigator: Dr. Linda Jacobson; Toronto Humane Society