Animal Health FAQs
What organisms do you test for, and what kind of tests are they?
- ePCR (genus level) – positive results verified with sequencing
- IFA serology (B. henselae, B. vinsonii subspecies berkhoffii, B. koehlerae)
What is a PCR?
PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is a molecular method used to detect DNA in patient samples.
What is serology?
Serology includes IFA (indirect fluorescent antibody), ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), and Western blot, all of which are designed to detect antibodies in patient samples.
How does the Bartonella ePCR™ test work?
Bartonella enrichmentPCR (ePCR™) combines an enrichment culture step in our patented Bartonella Alpha Proteobacteria Growth Medium (BAPGM). The BAPGM enrichment culture step provides the ideal growth environment for Bartonella, allowing these fastidious (hard-to-grow) bacteria to grow to detectable levels by PCR. Our test platform includes both pre- and post-culture PCR testing to ensure that non-viable as well as viable bacteria may be detected.
How sensitive is your Bartonella test compared to others?
In general, our Bartonella ePCR test is 10 times more sensitive than a basic Bartonella PCR test and, unlike a Bartonella henselaeserology test, confirms active infection. Please see our Test Performance statement for more information.
How accurate is your test at detecting Bartonella?
The diagnostic specificity of our Bartonella ePCR is approximately 99% or more. We use genus-level primers that work well for a broad number of Bartonella species, and we sequence verify every positive PCR result to confirm the species of infection.
What is the difference between single draw and triple draw?
Our basic test involves the collection of one sample. We call this a Single Draw.
The Triple Draw includes three blood sample sets (whole blood & serum) drawn over the course of a 7-8 day period (e.g., M-W-F). Research shows that testing multiple samples drawn over the course of this period increases the sensitivity of Bartonella detection. Bartonella reside in the cells that line blood vessels and enter the bloodstream at cyclical intervals. The Triple Draw collection method increases the odds of collecting a sample with a higher bacterial load, to increase the likelihood of detection.
Which tests should I pick?
For first-time canine orders, we recommend ordering both the Triple Draw Bartonella ePCR™ test panel and IFA serology panel. For feline test orders, we recommend ordering Single Draw Bartonella ePCR™ test panel and Bartonella IFA serology panel.
What samples do you test for besides blood?
In addition to blood, we can also test fresh/frozen tissue, joint fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, pericardial effusions and lymph node aspirates. We can also perform Bartonella PCR on paraffin-embedded tissue. Testing for specimens other than blood are not currently validated in our lab by a regulatory agency; results will be reported as RUO (Research Use Only) and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Click below for specific information for tissue and fluid collection.
Are your laboratory tests approved by the FDA or CDC?
We offer laboratory-developed tests (LDTs) as a service. These tests are not currently regulated by the FDA or the CDC. The FDA currently regulates the sale and use of diagnostic test kits and in vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs), such as blood collection tubes, PCR machines, etc. The CDC does not regulate tests but does make recommendations regarding the diagnostic standard of care for specific disease areas.
Following federal regulations, our laboratory operations are accredited under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement (CLIA) Program by COLA. We outsource DNA sequencing to an accredited service provider. Please see our Quality Assurance page for licenses and additional detail.
How to Order
Does a veterinarian have to order?
Yes, any licensed veterinarian can order our vet testing.
Do I order a sample collection kit?
Right now, we do not offer collection kits for animal health testing.
How do I send samples then?
Samples should be triple packed and shipped following our Shipping Instructions for clinical samples.
Are any of your tests offered through reference labs?
For further convenience, you can also order our Bartonella testing through IDEXX References Laboratories’ online catalog with the following test codes:
Bartonella ePCR™ – #2601 canine, #3631 feline
Bartonella ePCR™ plus Bartonella IFA serology – #3688 canine, #3689 feline
Do you accept orders from outside the United States?
Yes. The ordering process is the same, but shipping instructions involve a couple of extra steps. International shipping regulations require the inclusion of a commercial invoice and our CDC import permit. We handle international orders on a country-by-country basis. Please email us for more information at email@example.com.
How much do tests cost?
Click here for test pricing.
When is payment due?
Test turnaround time is 1-3 weeks, depending upon the test. We will bill your clinic for payment after testing is complete.
How do I send my samples to your lab?
What information should be written on the sample collection tube?
Label the tube with name and date of specimen collection.
Test Results, Interpretation and Treatment
How long is the testing process, and when can I expect my results?
For serology, test turnaround is 1 week if received by noon Tuesday; otherwise, turnaround time is 2 weeks. For standard PCR, turnaround time is 2 weeks. For ePCR, turnaround time is 3 weeks due to the additional BAPGM step.
How are results sent?
We send results directly to the animal hospital through e-mail or fax. We can also send results to the patient’s owner through e-mail or fax upon request.
How can I better understand the results?
Veterinary consults are available upon request. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.