>I have been reading up on ADV testing and I understand that the ADV
>QuickChek test is an antibody test. The way I have always understood
>these things (not being a biology major) the presence of antibodies only
>means that the ferret has been EXPOSED to the virus - it doesn't
>indicate the presence of the virus itself.
All of the commercially available ADV tests are antibody tests.
Unfortunately, with ADV, the presence of antibodies to ADV generally
means the ferret has ADV.
ADV causes the ferrets body to produce non-neutralizing antibodies.
Therefore, they do not help to clear the virus by fighting it. Without
anything to fight the virus, there is nothing to clear it out of the
The U of GA does run a PCR test on samples they receive, which checks
for the presence of viral DNA. However, this is not a good diagnostic
tool. Most of the time the virus is not in the blood stream, but in the
ferret's organs. I have 9 ferrets that have ADV, and over the course of
2+ years I have sent many samples from each of them to the U of GA. Only
3 have ever had a positive PCR test, although all of them have always had
positive antibody tests, and in some cases, the antibody levels have
increased over time. Even with those 3, there are many times the PCR
result comes back negative. So, with ADV, a blood or saliva test for
antigen (the virus) is not helpful in determining whether or not the
ferret has ADV.
There are other tests that can be used to help confirm a diagnosis of
ADV, though. One off the changes ADV causes is an increase in the gamma
globulin levels. This does not happen immediately, but over time, and
other conditions can cause the gammaglobulins to increase, but a high
gammaglobulin level along with a positive ADV antibody test would
indicate that ADV is likely there and active. The test to determine
the gammaglobulin level is called a protein electrophoresis test.
And, as to ADV testing, many people have reported problems with the
Avecon POCT test giving false results. For now, I would either recommend
the United CEP test or the Avecon ELISA test
ADV - If your ferret hasn't been tested, you don't know!
For more information visit http://www.geocities.com/russiansmom
[Posted in FML issue 3878]