Kentucky livestock producers are fortunate to have two veterinary labs that support the animal industry with diagnostic medical testing services. The labs are the Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and Murray State University’s Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville. Their goal is to provide services to improve the health of livestock in the state. Horses, as well as cattle are the main emphasis, but they do work with all livestock.
The LDDC and BVC are both full-service veterinary diagnostic labs. Services range from diagnostic and regulatory testing to full necropsy (autopsy). If your farm experiences a disease problem in one or more animals or deaths, the LDDC can run laboratory tests at the request of your veterinarian to help identify the cause. For more serious or puzzling health issues, you can request an epidemiological field investigation.
The LDDC Web site http://www.lddc.uky.edulists their fee schedule, what tests they offer, and animal health risk outlook. If you follow the link from the main page, it will show you an interactive map of Kentucky. Simply scroll your cursor over a county, and you can see what diseases the labs have diagnosed in that county in the past 30 days.
It will not tell you addresses or farm names as they keep all identifying information strictly confidential; but it will tell you the types of diseases that currently are in a county and surrounding counties. This could help a farmer design a sound vaccination and preventive medicine program for his herd.
Periodically, the labs notice an increase in certain diseases or syndromes and publish an animal health bulletin on their Web site and send it out by the Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Lab listserv (e-mail mailing list). If you would like be placed on the listserv to receive animal alerts via e-mail, you can contact the LaRue County Extension Office or UK LDDC directly.
Currently, more than 30 vaccines are available on the market for use in cattle in the United States. Producers must base their decision of whether or not to use any of these products on the presence of a disease on a particular farm, the seasonality of disease, management and risk factors. The LDDC and BVC can assist livestock producers and their veterinarian in vaccine selection by confirming digestive, neurological, respiratory, parasitic and other diseases on your premises.
The LDDC’s $28.5 million, long-awaited renovation and expansion is under way, with construction scheduled to be finished by fall 2010. The project involves adding a state-of-the-art necropsy facility, much-needed additional laboratory space, a new administration wing and a continuing education auditorium. In addition, all existing laboratory space will be totally renovated. The original facility is almost 40-years-old and is in desperate need of these upgrades.
The laboratory must attain modern bio-safety standards to meet the requirements of the national accrediting agency, the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.