IDEXX Reference Laboratories

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 that their pet is negative or intervene and provide their patient with highest standard of care should they test positive.

  • The pet is living in a household with a human who has COVID-19 or has tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus
  • The pet has already been tested for more common infections that have been ruled out by a veterinarian
  • The 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. To date, IDEXX has found no positive results in pets for the COVID-19 virus, suggesting that dogs and cats living with infected people generally remain uninfected, except in rare and isolated cases. 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 generally seem 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 should only order the IDEXX SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) RealPCR Test when recommended by a public health authority and these three specific criteria are met:

  • The pet is living in a household with a human who has COVID-19 or has tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus
  • The pet has already been tested for more common infections that have been ruled out by a veterinarian
  • The 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

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

World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) issued the following guidance: 

“Clinical (non-propagated) samples from suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases are assigned to UN 3373, Biological Substance, Category B, unless the countries of origin, transit, or destination have issued national recommendations defining them otherwise.”

The shipping material and the packaging instructions that we provide for any regular sample are in line with UN 3373. Please strictly follow these instructions and don´t hesitate to contact us, should you have any questions.

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

Test names and codes

Test code: COVIDP

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

Test code: COVIDPFU

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

Follow up on a prior RealPCR test or panel

Please use VetConnect PLUS for the test ordering or write the test code manually on the order form. 

 

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


Feline Upper Respiratory Profile (RealPCR Panel)

Chlamydia felis, Feline Calicivirus FCV, Feline Herpesvirus 1 FHV-1 (quantitative), Mycoplasma felis, Bordetella bronchiseptica

Test Code – POAK

 

Canine Respiratory Profile (RealPCR Panel)

Canine Adenovirus Type 2, Canine Distemper Virus CDV quantitative), Canine Herpesvirus CHV-1, Canine Parainfluenza Virus, Canine Influenza Virus, Canine Respiratory Coronavirus, Mycoplasma cynos, Bordetella bronchiseptica

Test Code – POAH

Specimen submission guidelines

SARS-CoV-2 specimen collection guidelines

It is encouraged that you consult with your state public health veterinarian for the 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). 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; keep refrigerated. 
  • For gastrointestinal manifestations: 3-5 g (1 g minimum) fresh faeces 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). Please submit dry, plastic-stemmed swabs, without transport media; keep refrigerated.
  • No distinct clinical signs (e.g. public health investigations): 3-5 g (1 g minimum) fresh faeces 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.

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). Please submit dry, plastic-stemmed swabs, without transport media; 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 faeces in a sterile tube.

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 to public health and/or veterinary authorities. The submitting veterinarian is also responsible for reporting the positive result and plays a critical role in providing the additional clinical details and history of 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.se?

Turnaround time

Preliminary results in 2–3 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.

08 51 989566
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 an 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.