New Lyme Disease Test Speeds Diagnosis

Researchers discover new method of testing for Lyme disease in horses and dogs.

Bettina Wagner, DVM, associate professor of Equine Health at Cornell’s veterinary college.

A new multiplex test for Lyme disease in horses and dogs developed by researchers at the Animal Health Diagnostic Center at Cornell, speeds diagnosis and pinpoints time of infection, the researchers say.

The Lyme disease infection becomes progressively harder to fight as the bacteria hides in the joints, nervous tissues and organs of the host. The disease causes arthritis or lameness in dogs. The bacteria burrow into the nervous system, the spine or the brain in horses, causing pain, paralysis or behavioral changes. By the time clinical signs appear, the bacteria are usually not in circulation anymore. Detection features of the new test allow for more effective treatment plans.

“Now we can distinguish between infection and vaccination and also between early and chronic infection stages,” says Bettina Wagner, DVM, associate professor of Equine Health at Cornell’s veterinary college and lead test developer. “You were able to say whether an animal was infected [with older tests], but not when it was infected or how far the infection had developed.”

The multiplex procedure requires smaller samples and can detect three different antibodies produced in response to the bacteria associated with Lyme disease using a single test on the sample.

The test can help veterinarians make advanced decisions about treatment. After the long treatment period ends, veterinarians usually conduct follow-up testing to see if it was successful. Click here for more information.

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