Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory: A Beacon of Health for U.S. Agriculture and Household Pets

By Trish Svoboda

The Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (KSVDL) at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine is a facility that receives samples from across the state and country. These samples, which range from cancer in cats to viruses in dogs, are tested to diagnose and track diseases, as they can significantly impact individual households and the U.S. agricultural economy.

The laboratory, which is Kansas’ largest and primary public veterinary diagnostics lab, has the capacity to process thousands of animal tests in a short timeframe.

The KSVDL serves a diverse range of animal issues and is equipped with resources and experts from various backgrounds, including zoo and wildlife, poultry, and swine. The laboratory conducts over 500 types of tests, on a wide array of animals, from small household pets to large livestock and exotic zoo animals.

One of the crucial responsibilities of the KSVDL is to monitor and react to potential outbreaks of foreign animal diseases within Kansas. As part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Laboratory Network, the KSVDL keeps an eye on diseases like African swine fever and foot-and-mouth disease, which pose a significant threat to the country’s livestock industry.

In addition to disease testing, the KSVDL also helps determine causes of animal deaths through its necropsy unit. This service can be part of criminal or insurance investigations or at the request of pet or livestock owners for risk assessment for their other animals. The KSVDL also collaborates with regional zoos, conducting field necropsies on endangered animals to learn more about their health and devise potentially life-saving measures for similar animals.

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