Cryptococcus antigen test

Cryptococcus antigen test

Species: Feline, canine

Specimen: Serum, CSF

Container: Plain (red top) or gel tube

Collection protocol: Venepuncture, CSF tap

Special handling/shipping requirements: Standard

General information about the disease:  Cryptococcosis is the most common systemic fungal disease of cats. It is caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gatti. C. neoformans is the most medically important species and it has a worldwide distribution being particularly abundant in soil contaminated with pigeon droppings. Most cases of feline cryptococcosis present as a mycotic rhinitis. Cutaneous, neurological and ocular involvement reflect systemic spread. Although this disease is most common in cats it is also seen in dogs, cattle, horses, sheep, goats, birds, wild animals and people. Dogs usually present with disseminated disease with neurological and ocular involvement.

General information about when this test is indicated:  The cryptococcus antigen test is a lateral flow immunoassay (LFA) that measures antigen titres in serum or CSF fluid. Antigen titres can be extremely high but even a low titre is considered a positive result.

The cryptococcus antigen test is a useful method of diagnosis in suspected cases in which the organism is not identified by other means. This test can also be used as a method of monitoring response to treatment.

Comparison with other related tests:  Cytology and histology of suspected lesions may reveal the fungal organisms. Culture is also another method of detection however not currently available due to the zoonotic risk.

*NOTE – This test is not performed by Awanui Veterinary and requires referral to an external reference laboratory