The applicability of an anti-Mycobacterium bovis (BCG) antibody-based immunohistochemistry (IHC) procedure was investigated using everyday veterinary pathological samples collected from 13 different animal species. Fifty-one formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded tissue samples were selected for this study. Forty, 4 and 7 tissue samples contained different species of bacteria, fungi and protozoa, respectively. Three serial sections were prepared in each case. Two sections were pre-treated with enzyme and heat, respectively, while the last section was not pre-treated. In seven cases the sensitivity of histochemical staining (HSM), IHC and bacteriological culture were compared. Heating of the sections in a microwave oven was the most effective method in the case of almost all pathogens used. Strong or moderate positive reactions were observed for 26 bacterial species, all fungal and 2 protozoal species, while weak reactions occurred for 2 bacterial and 1 protozoal species. Only 4 protozoal and 12 bacterial species, including Leptospira and all the five Mycoplasma species examined, showed no reaction in this test. IHC had almost the same sensitivity as bacteriological culture and was more sensitive than HSM. The IHC method presented here should be preferred to HSM as a general screening tool in cases where pathological lesions suspicious for infections are evident and no microorganism can be cultured in vitro or only formalin-fixed tissue samples are available for the laboratory examination.
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