Veterinary researchers in Australia have shown that if mycobacteria are visualised on cytology samples, the species can usually be identified via PCR. This is performed by extracting DNA from material obtained from slides that are treated with Romansowsky-type stains (e.g. Giemsa, Diff Quik etc). Unlike the collection of fresh biopsy samples, this technique will not allow culture of the organism, however it is very useful for treatment planning. This technique is particularly appealing in cases where general anaesthetic and biopsy are precluded either for financial or health reasons, as cytology samples are usually minimally invasive and many instances do not require sedation of the cat.
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