Diagnosing animal diseases


Diagnosis is an essential part of disease management and prevention. Specialized laboratories across the nation are dedicated to animal health. Disease must be controlled whether it is affecting a pet or an entire flock of animals. A small outbreak of disease can spread and hinder the entire population. Quick detection and diagnosis can help prevent further spread.

The first step in disease diagnostics is for the producer or owner to submit the affected animal to the lab. It is important for the producer to bring in the deceased animal immediately following death to provide the most accurate results. Once at the laboratory a veterinary specialist such as a pathologist, microbiologist, or serologist, can perform a necropsy on the animal. A necropsy is the examination of the body after death. This includes dissecting the animal. The specialist examines every part of the animal inside and out to find a possible cause of death. The specialist also takes samples of the body tissues and fluids to be further tested. A specialist tests the body or bacteria samples to find a pathogen. A pathogen is a disease-causing agent. Once the cause of disease has been identified the specialist reports his or her findings to the animal owner and veterinarian. The owner and veterinarian then create a treatment plan.

Animal disease diagnostics is an important step between the cause and cure of disease. The cause of death is vital information when deciding a treatment plan for other animals.

Animal disease diagnostics laboratories serve to improve animal health not only for production purposes, but for the entire area they serve. A laboratory’s priority is to diagnose all specimens on their premises, no matter if the specimen is a pet alpaca or a flock of turkeys.

The importance of animal disease diagnostics laboratories is not a very recognized area of animal production but they are essential to animal health. It is important for not only animal producers, but also consumers to be aware of this resource. Whether a companion or a production animal, any owner can use an animal disease diagnostics lab to gain understanding and prevent similar circumstances in the future. Without disease diagnostics, food and animal safety would not be as reliable.

Learn about diseases that can spread between humans and animals