Further reading on Dog Flu testing for pet professionals.

PCR Tests

Nasal and/or caudal pharyngeal swabs can also be used for detection of CIV nucleic acid by PCR tests.2 Advantages of PCR testing are that it is fast and inexpensive, and is now offered by several reference and university diagnostic laboratories.

In addition, PCR tests have high sensitivity and specificity, and are more likely to show positive results when there are low levels of virus present, such as in later stages of Dog Flu infection, than virus antigen immunoassays. The high sensitivity can lead to false-positive results if there is DNA contamination during sample collection, or during processing in the lab.

To avoid contamination during swab collection, the person collecting the sample should wear clean examination gloves for each dog and only touch the swab tip to the area sampled to avoid contamination by DNA on hands and in the environment. False-negative results can occur if the timing of sample collection is not appropriate.