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Laboratory technician with mask on preparing microbiology samples with pipette

IDEXX SARS-CoV-2
(COVID-19) RealPCR Test

For rare cases in consultation with your public health authority

In rare cases where the three specific criteria below are met, this test offers veterinarians the opportunity to bring pet owners the peace of mind their pet is negative or intervene and provide their patient with highest standard of care should they test positive.

  • Pet is living in a household with a human who has COVID-19 or has tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus
  • Pet has already been tested for more common infections, which a veterinarian has ruled out
  • Pet (especially cats and ferrets) is showing clinical signs consistent with COVID-19
     

How to order

For the latest IDEXX resources regarding the COVID-19 pandemic

For use in rare cases to confirm or rule out COVID-19 infection in pets 

Leading health authorities and IDEXX veterinarians agree that transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is primarily person to person and advise against testing asymptomatic pets. Since mid-February, IDEXX has tested over 5,000 specimens for the COVID-19 virus. The specimens were submitted to IDEXX Reference Laboratories for respiratory tests of sick cats, dogs and horses in 17 different countries. In symptomatic pets, it is more likely that disease is caused by a more common respiratory infection than by COVID-19. 

While there is currently no evidence that dogs or cats play a role in transmitting the disease to humans, growing clinical evidence suggest there may be varying levels of susceptibility to infection in animals. Recent peer-reviewed research also showed cats and ferrets may be more susceptible to clinical infections while dogs seem generally more resistant to infection.8-11

When to test

Leading health authorities and IDEXX veterinarians agree that transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is primarily person to person and advise against testing asymptomatic pets. In symptomatic pets, it is more likely that disease is caused by a more common respiratory infection than by COVID-19.

IDEXX's guidance, aligned with that of medical experts, is that veterinarians order the IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR Test only when recommended by a public health authority (for example, the office of their Provincial/Territory Chief Veterinary Officer) and these three specific criteria are met:

  • Pet is living in a household with a human who has COVID-19 or has tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus
  • Pet has already been tested for more common infections, which a veterinarian has ruled out
  • Pet (especially cats and ferrets) is showing clinical signs consistent with COVID-19 
     

For more detailed information, please see our diagnostic update.


IDEXX wholly endorses the recommendation of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) found on their website that states, "If a new, concerning illness is observed that cannot be otherwise explained, and the companion animal has had close and prolonged contact with a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection, the veterinarian should contact a state public health veterinarian or designated health official to discuss whether or not there is a need to test that animal for COVID-19."

How to order

Special instructions for submitting specimens for the IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR Test

All IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR Test specimens in Canada should be submitted via Purolator directly to the IDEXX Reference Laboratory in Markham, Ontario for analysis by the molecular diagnostics (PCR) laboratory. Shipping labels, PCR swabs and other supplies for COVID-19 testing are available via IDEXX Online Orders.

Specimen shipping instructions for Purolator for IDEXX Reference Laboratories

Note: To set up an IDEXX Online Orders Account, please contact Customer Support at 1-800-667-3411.

Not an IDEXX customer?  Please contact a representative for assistance in setting up an account.

Test names and codes

Test code: SCOV2

IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR Test

Test code: SCOV2a

IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR Test Add-on

Add on to a prior RealPCR test or panel

 

Test for more common causes of respiratory illness to be considered prior to testing for SARs-CoV-2 (COVID-19)


Upper Respiratory Disease (URD) RealPCR Panel

Bordetella bronchiseptica, Chlamydophila felis, feline calicivirus, feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1) Quant, H7N2 avian influenza virus, influenza A virus (includes H3N2, H1N1, H3N8) and Mycoplasma felis RealPCR tests. Includes quantification of feline herpesvirus type 1 (FHV-1) viral particles if PCR positive. Includes strain identification of influenza A if PCR positive.

FURD—Feline

 

Respiratory Disease (CRD) RealPCR Panel (Comprehensive)

Bordetella bronchiseptica, canine adenovirus type 2, canine distemper virus (CDV) Quant, canine herpesvirus type 1 (CHV-1), canine parainfluenza virus, canine pneumovirus, canine respiratory coronavirus (CRCoV), H3N2 canine influenza virus, influenza A virus (includes H1N1, H3N2, H3N8, H7N2), Mycoplasma cynos and Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus RealPCR tests. Includes quantification of distemper viral particles if PCR positive. Includes strain identification of influenza A if PCR positive.

CRDD—Canine

 

Influenza Virus RealPCR Panel 

H1N1 pandemic influenza virus, H3N2 canine influenza virus, H3N8 canine influenza virus, and influenza A virus RealPCR tests. Includes strain identification of influenza A if PCR positive.

IFLU—Canine/Ferret

Specimen submission guidelines

SARS-CoV-2 specimen collection guidelines

It is encouraged to consult with the office of your Provincial/Territory Chief Veterinary Officer for latest guidelines on safely collecting specimens prior to testing for SARS-CoV-2 in a pet. The use of personal protective equipment (PPE) including gloves, mask, gown and eye protection is recommended when collecting specimens from a pet in which SARS-CoV-2 infection is suspected.  

The ideal specimen should be based on clinical presentation and purpose for testing.
  • For respiratory manifestations: deep pharyngeal swab (with visible organic material on swab; please rub firmly) and a conjunctival swab (wipe eye clean, swab inside of eyelid), in the same tube. If the patient is cooperative, a swab from the caudal nasal cavity may also be included. Please submit dry, plastic-stemmed swabs, without transport media, in an RTT or an empty, sterile tube; keep refrigerated. 
  • For gastrointestinal manifestations: 3-5 g (1 g minimum) fresh feces in a sterile container and deep pharyngeal swab (with visible organic material on swab; please rub firmly) and a conjunctival swab (wipe eye clean, swab inside of eyelid), in the same tube. Please submit dry, plastic-stemmed swabs, without transport media, in an RTT or an empty, sterile tube; keep refrigerated.
  • No distinct clinical signs (e.g. public health investigations): 3-5 g (1 g minimum) fresh feces in a sterile container and deep pharyngeal swab (with visible organic material on swab; please rub firmly), conjunctival swab (wipe eye clean, swab inside of eyelid), and caudal nasal swab, in the same tube.

Specimen requirements

Deep pharyngeal swab (with visible organic material on swab; please rub firmly) and a conjunctival swab (wipe eye clean, swab inside of eyelid), in the same tube. Please submit dry, plastic-stemmed swabs, without transport media, in an RTT or an empty, sterile tube; keep refrigerated. 

Additional specimens for IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR test: if the patient is cooperative, a swab from the caudal nasal cavity may also be included. If gastrointestinal signs are present, also include 3-5 g (1 g minimum) fresh feces in a sterile tube.

Additional instructions as per CFIA guidance:

  1. For each specimen type, please collect and submit a duplicate sample to be used for confirmatory testing in the event of a non-negative result.
  2. Include the SARS-CoV-2 animal testing form, provided by the provincial/territorial Chief Veterinary Officer, with each submission.

Reporting requirements

What are the reporting requirements for a positive IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR Test?

COVID-19 is an internationally reportable disease. If a positive SARS-CoV-2 result is detected, the IDEXX RealPCR team will provide essential information as required by applicable law with public health and/or veterinary authorities (for example, to the office of the Provincial/Territory Chief Veterinary Officer). The submitting veterinarian is also responsible to report the positive result and plays a critical role in providing the additional clinical details and history about the patient. Positive IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR tests will be further confirmed at a third-party government laboratory, according to regulatory guidance.

Support and resources

Ordering your tests online  

Did you know that you can search for diagnostic tests, create requisition, and review status on vetconnectplus.ca?

Turnaround time

Preliminary results in 1-3 working days; allow additional time for confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive results.

Customer support services

IDEXX supports your practice with our customer support, technical support, and medical consulting services team, including our diagnostic support veterinarians and board-certified specialists.

1-800-667-3411
Artist rendering of DNA extraction using RealPCR

What is PCR?

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing identifies the presence of a pathogen’s DNA or RNA in a patient specimen. PCR is highly sensitive and specific testing that can confirm the actual presence of an organism.

PCR results facilitate early detection of disease in sick animals:
  • Often positive in infected animals before antibody can be detected

Contact customer support

Public health and other non-customer inquiries: Click here

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). www.cdc.gov/COVID19. Accessed April 16, 2020.
  2. World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019. Accessed April 16, 2020.
  3. American Veterinary Medical Association. COVID-19: What veterinarians need to know. www.avma.org/coronavirus. Accessed April 16, 2020.
  4. World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). The new coronavirus and companion animals—advice for WSAVA members. www.wsava.org/news/highlighted-news/the-new-coronavirus-and-companion-animals-advice-for-wsava-members. Accessed April 16, 2020.
  5. Ong SWX, Tan YK, Chia PY, et al. Air, surface environmental, and personal protective equipment contamination by serve acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from a symptomatic patient [published online ahead of print March 4, 2020]. JAMA. 2020;e203227. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.3227   
  6. van Doremalen N, Bushmaker Y, Morris DH, et al. Aerosol and surface stability of SARS-COV-2 as compared with SARS-CoV-1. N Engl J Med2020;382(16):1564–1567. doi:10.1056/NEJMc2004973
  7. Wan Y, Shang J, Graham R, Baric RS, Li F. Receptor recognition by the novel coronavirus from Wuhan: An analysis based on decade-long structural studies of SARS coronavirus. J Virol. 2020;94(7):e00127-20. doi:10.1128/JVI.00127-20
  8. Shi J, Wen Z, Zhong G, et al.  Susceptibility of ferrets, cats, dogs and other domesticated animals to SARS-coronavirus 2. Science. 2020;eabb7015. doi:10.1126/science.abb7015
  9. Kim Y, Kim SG, Kim SM, et al. Infection and rapid transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in ferrets [published online ahead of print April 5, 2020]. Cell Host Microbe. 2020;S1931-3128(20)30187-6. doi:10.1016/j.chom.2020.03.023
  10. Questions and answers on the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Surveillance and events in animals. World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) website. www.oie.int/en/scientific-expertise/specific-information-and-recommendations/questions-and-answers-on-2019novel-coronavirus. Updated April 9, 2020. Accessed April 16, 2020.
  11. USDA statement on the confirmation of COVID-19 in a tiger in New York. USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service website. www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/news/sa_by_date/sa-2020/ny-zoo-covid-19. Updated April 6, 2020. Accessed April 16, 2020.
  12. Zhang Q, Zhang H, Huang K, et al. SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing serum antibodies in cats: a serological investigation [preprint]. doi:10.1101/2020.04.01.021196
  13. Low-level of infection with COVID-19 in pet dog [news release]. Hong Kong: Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; March 4, 2020. www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202003/04/P2020030400658.htm. Accessed April 16, 2020.
  14. COVID-19 RealPCR Validation Studies: sequence blast analyses and cross-reactivity studies. March 2020. Data on file at IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. Westbrook, Maine USA.

 

PCR testing is a service performed pursuant to an agreement with Roche Molecular Systems, Inc.