Effective Use of a Diagnostic Laboratory

Chapter 10 Effective Use of a Diagnostic Laboratory

Veterinary toxicology laboratories offer a wide range of testing for toxins by using highly specific and sensitive analytical techniques. Most toxicology laboratories are integrated in veterinary diagnostic laboratories, which also provide pathology, microbiology, serology, virology, endocrinology, electron microscopy, parasitology, and other diagnostic services. Combining results from analyses from all diagnostic “sections” will provide a high probability of establishing an accurate diagnosis, especially if the “diagnostic puzzle” described earlier in Chapter 9 is used to narrow the search. Toxicologists and their analytical staff work closely with other personnel within the diagnostic laboratory from the other sections to fine tune the diagnostic approach to maximize the use of the submitted samples and hopefully achieve a successful diagnosis. Many veterinary diagnostic laboratories have close established contacts and working relationships with clinical experts present in associated teaching hospitals. This close working relationship helps the toxicologist narrow down or sometimes expand the list of potential toxins that may be involved in the case at hand.


Your first contact with a veterinary diagnostic laboratory should be via the telephone. In most veterinary diagnostic laboratories, a veterinary toxicologist provides consultation on possible differentials for a case and proper sample collection. Good communication in the early stage of a suspected poisoning case between the practitioner and the diagnostic toxicology laboratory personnel is one of the most useful tools in an investigation and will guarantee proper sample collection and accurate selection of initial tests. The veterinary toxicologist also provides recommendations for the initial treatment of a potentially poisoned animal. Consulting with laboratory personnel to determine the laboratory’s capabilities, costs of analyses, turn-around times, and interpretation abilities is critical so that everyone involved is kept thoroughly involved. The consultant can help expand or narrow down the focus of the investigation, so that the clinician is not asking for the “toxicology screen,” but rather focusing on some select differentials to target for testing. This can also be the appropriate time for a veterinarian to pass along critical pieces of history regarding the case that may be too cumbersome to write on the accession forms. The telephone consult can also provide necessary information regarding packaging, preserving, and shipping the samples of interest. Some laboratories are open for Saturday deliveries, but many are not. You might need to know this in case samples arrive later than expected and are potentially perishable. Many laboratories have much of this information on Internet websites, but often it is a good idea to contact the laboratory directly to make sure that all information on the website is current and correct. Box 10-1 lists the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD)-accredited veterinary diagnostic laboratories located in the United States and Canada.

Box 10-1 AAVLD-Accredited Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories—2005

State or Province Laboratory Information
United States
Arizona Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Tucson, AZ 85705
Arkansas Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Diagnostic Lab
P.O. Box 8505
Little Rock, AR 72215
California California Animal Health and Food Safety
Laboratory System (5 labs throughout CA)
P.O. Box 1770, University of California, Davis
Davis, CA (Main lab) 95617
Colorado Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Ft. Collins, CO 80523
Connecticut Dept. of Pathobiology & Veterinary Science
Storrs, CT 06269–3089
Florida Animal Disease Laboratory
Kissimmee, FL 34745
Georgia University of Georgia
Athens Diagnostic Laboratory
Athens, GA30602
University of Georgia Veterinary Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory
Tifton, GA 31793–3000
Illinois Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
University of Illinois, College of Vet. Medicine
Urbana, IL 61802–6199
Animal Disease Laboratory
Illinois Dept. of Agriculture
Galesburg, IL 61402
Animal Disease Laboratory
Illinois Dept. of Agriculture
Centralia, IL 62801
Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN
Iowa Veterinary Diagnostic & Production Animal Medicine
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011
State or Province Laboratory Information
Kansas Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
Kentucky Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center
Lexington, KY 40512
Veterinary Diagnostic and Research Center
Murray State University
Hopkinsville, KY 42240
Louisiana Louisiana Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab
Baton Rouge, LA 70894
Michigan Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health
Michigan State University
Lansing, MI 48909–7576
Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55108
Mississippi Mississippi Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Jackson, MS 39296
Missouri Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65205
Montana Diagnostic Laboratory Division
State of Montana
Bozeman, MT 59771
Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center
University of Nebraska
Lincoln, NE 68583–0907
New Mexico Veterinary Diagnostic Services
New Mexico, Dept. of Agriculture
Albuquerque, NM 87106
New York New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
State or Province Laboratory Information
N. Carolina Rollins Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
N. Carolina Dept. of Agriculture
Raleigh, NC 27607
North Dakota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
North Dakota State University
Fargo, ND 58105
Ohio Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
Reynoldsburg, OH 43068
Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74074–7001
Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory System
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Harrisburg, PA 17110–9408 (Main lab of 3 lab system)
S. Carolina Clemson Veterinary Diagnostic Center
Clemson University
Columbia, SC 29224–2406
South Dakota Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory
South Dakota State University
Brookings, SD 57007
Tennessee CE Kord Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
Nashville, TN 37204
Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 79106
Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory
Drawer 3040
College Station, TX 77841
Washington Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99165–2037
State or Province Laboratory Information
Wisconsin Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture and University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53705
Wyoming Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory
University of Wyoming
Laramie, WY 82070
BC Animal Health Centre
Abbotsford, BC V3G2M3
Ontario Animal Health Laboratory
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON N1H6R8

Sep 11, 2016 | Posted by in SMALL ANIMAL | Comments Off on Effective Use of a Diagnostic Laboratory
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