AHL Laboratory Sections

Please click on any of the following for the laboratory sections descriptions and contacts:


           The AHL Bacteriology laboratory provides high quality, comprehensive diagnostic bacteriology service to practicing veterinarians, the OVC Health Sciences Centre, researchers, and industry.  There are 3 main sections of the laboratory with expertise in clinical, mastitis, and hatchery bacteriology.  This lab section is staffed by a full-time veterinary bacteriologist (Dr. Durda Slavic) and 14 well-trained technicians operating within a comprehensive quality program.

           Clinical bacteriology - aerobic and anaerobic culture of bacterial and fungal pathogens from animals and feed; antimicrobial susceptibility testing (MIC and disk-diffusion) ; culture of Mycobacterium avium ssp. Paratuberculosis; PCR tests for slow growing, and difficult-to-culture bacteria; PCR typing; botulinum toxin detection; ELISA detection of C. perfringens enterotoxin and C. difficile toxins.
           Mastitis bacteriology - Culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing for clinical mastitis cases; bedding and milk/colostrum bacterial counts; routine herd screenings and bulk-tank milk testing.
           Hatchery bacteriology - screening of environmental and poultry samples for Salmonella spp. according to the Ontario Hatchery and Supply Flock Policy and EU requirements.
          For details on individual tests, sampling requirements, usual days tested, turnaround times, and fees, please see the AHL Fee Schedule.

Contact: ahlbact@uoguelph.ca

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Client Services (Specimen Reception)

          Specimen Reception staff process all samples and carcasses that come in from the OVC Health Sciences Centre and external veterinary clinics in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada.  A unique case number is applied to each submission (routine or postmortem) and the samples are divided as needed by each lab section depending on the clinician's requests.  The duty pathologist processes animals submitted for postmortem examination and the samples are forwarded to the specimen room for delivery to the various labs.  Each case is entered into our laboratory information management system (LIMS) and routed to the various labs.  Interim and final reports are sent to the clinic by email or fax, according to the submitter's request.  As well, samples are forwarded to external labs elsewhere in Canada and the US on behalf of our clients.  These external laboratory reports are incorporated into the client's final report.
          The specimen room is staffed by Client Services Representatives and Technicians under the supervision of a Medical Laboratory Technologist.  Our Client Services Veterinarian, Dr. Tim Pasma, is specifically available to provide test advice to our veterinary clients, and rounds out the expertise required to offer top-of-the-line client service.  Our staff members have strong computer skills and veterinary backgrounds.  As part of AHL Central Services, Client Services offers helpful and friendly advice to the veterinary practitioner in areas of sampling and diagnostic testing and interpretation.  This service is only for veterinarians.  Animal owners who have questions are advised to consult their veterinarian.
          For details on individual tests, sampling requirements, usual days tested, turnaround times, and fees, please see the AHL Fee Schedule .


Clients services: general inquires:  ahlinfo@uoguelph.ca 
Specimen Reception:  specroom@uoguelph.ca

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Clinical Pathology

          The AHL Clinical Pathology laboratory is a client-focused, service-driven laboratory, staffed by 7 medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) and two ACVP board-certified clinical pathologists.  A full spectrum of testing is provided, including:  hematology, biochemistry, cytology, urinalysis, coagulation, protein electrophoresis, endocrinology, and blood banking.  The lab is highly automated.  Hematology samples are analyzed with Advia instrumentation, including the 120 and 2120 analyzers.  Biochemistry analysis is performed by two Roche Cobas c501 instruments.  These analyzers are directly interfaced with our laboratory information management system.  Results can be either e-mailed or faxed directly to our clients.
          As most of the samples submitted to the laboratory are clinically urgent in nature, we endeavor to provide ‘same day’ results for the majority of submissions.  Certain tests are ‘batched’ and thus processed weekly or biweekly.  Turnaround times for each specific test can be found within the AHL Fee Schedule, or by contacting the lab directly.  The Clinical Pathology laboratory is AAVLD accredited, and subscribes to numerous internal and external proficiency programs in our ongoing efforts to ensure accurate, timely results.
          We welcome research sample submissions.  Consultation with the laboratory Technical Supervisor is required in advance of research sample submission to allow test templates and procedural protocols to be created.  New method development is continuously taking place, and test validation is also ongoing.  We are committed to continuous improvement, and remaining current with new developments in the field through continuing education and communication with other veterinary diagnostic labs around the world.
          For details on individual tests, sampling requirements, days tested, turnaround times, and fees, please see the AHL Fee Schedule.

Contact: clinpath@uoguelph.ca

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          The AHL Histotechnology lab prepares slides for microscopic examination by AHL staff pathologists, Pathobiology faculty and graduate students, and both on-campus and off-campus researchers.  Tissues from postmortems or surgical biopsies are fixed in formalin and then dehydrated through a series of alcohols, into xylene, and then into paraffin wax.  Blocks are sectioned at 4 to 5 micrometers and routinely stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E), or, on request, with a secondary stain.

          We currently have ~ 40 special histochemical stains in our repertoire, and over 30 immunohistochemical (IHC) stains are available currently at the lab, covering a broad range of infectious agents and tissue markers.  Tissue markers are commonly used for determining cell-of-origin for different types of cancer.  The primary advantage of immunohistochemistry for infectious diseases is that the organism can be seen at the site of the lesion.

          For details on individual tests, sampling requirements, usual days tested, turnaround times, and fees, please see the AHL Fee Schedule.

Contact: ahlhisto@uoguelph.ca

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Guelph Anatomic Pathology

          Experienced veterinary pathologists who are specialists in the anatomic pathology of mammalian and avian species staff this section.  All of our pathologists are veterinarians with graduate training, and most are board-certified as diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP).  We serve veterinarians, owners of livestock, poultry, and other animal species, and industry through provision of a range of services, including postmortem examinations, histopathology including immunohistochemistry, recognition and notification of zoonotic and exotic animal diseases, and medico-legal postmortems for litigation and insurance cases and for the police and humane societies, which may include court appearances as expert witnesses.
          AHL pathologists act as case coordinators, and integrate ancillary laboratory tests with pathology findings to arrive at diagnoses.  Pathology diagnoses form the basis of animal health surveillance and disease trend information that is the cornerstone of the Ontario Animal Health Surveillance Network (OAHSN).  
          For details on individual tests, sampling requirements, testing days, turnaround times, and fees, please see the AHL Fee Schedule.

Contact: ahlinfo@uoguelph.ca

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Kemptville Anatomic Pathology

          AHL-Kemptville is located on the Kemptville campus of the University of Guelph, about 40 km southwest of Ottawa.  The full range of AHL diagnostic services is provided through our Kemptville laboratory for submitters in eastern Ontario.  In addition to postmortem and histopathology services, the AHL provides a broad range of expertise in medico-legal pathology, clinical pathology, toxicology, microbiology, molecular diagnostics and immunohistochemistry.  Although livestock, poultry, companion animals and horses make up the majority of submissions to our AHL-Kemptville lab, a significant proportion of our caseload involves pet birds, exotic species and pocket pets.
          Outreach with our client base is maintained through contributions to the AHL Newsletter, oral and written presentations of eastern Ontario disease summaries, and through participation in the Central Canada Veterinary Association and the Ottawa Academy of Veterinary Medicine.
          For details on individual tests, sample requirements, turnaround times and fees, please see the AHL Fee Schedule or contact the laboratory.


Heindrich Snyman, BVSc, DVSc, Diplomate ACVP:  snymanh@uoguelph.ca
Emily Ratsep, BSc, BVSc, DVSc, MRCVS, Diplomate ACVP:  eratsep@uoguelph.ca  

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Molecular Biology and Mycoplasma

         The Molecular Biology  section develops new molecular biology assays and provide molecular testing for difficult-to-culture bacteria and parasites, including Bartonella, Chlamydophila, Coxiella, Giardia, Mycoplasmas, Streptococcus equi, Tritrichomonas, scrapie resistance genotyping, and 16S and 18S rRNA gene sequencing for bacterial and fungal identification.
The Mycoplasmology section providesa broad range of services for Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma isolation, identification, serological testing and molecular biology testing.
          For details on individual tests, sampling requirements, days tested, turnaround times, and fees, please see the AHL Fee Schedule.

Contact Molecular Biology:  ahlmolec@uoguelph.ca

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          The AHL Parasitology laboratory provides diagnostic testing on both food-producing and companion animals.  Parasitological techniques used by the experienced technicians in this lab include routine fecal flotation, saline/sucrose wet mounts , Giardia ELISA, heartworm antigen and/or microfilariae, parasite identification (including ticks, lice, fleas, tapeworm segments, intact worms, mites),  Baermann for lungworm or Strongyloides, quantitative fecal examination, total worm counts.
          For details on individual tests, sampling requirements, days tested, turnaround times, and fees, please see the AHL Fee Schedule.

Contact: ahl.parasitology@uoguelph.ca


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          The AHL provides valuable and timely information that enables Ontario to remain competitive in national and international trade.  Through accessions from producers, veterinarians and industry groups, the AHL provides surveillance information on endemic, new, and emerging diseases affecting the health of livestock and poultry from across the province.  Many diseases are first recognized in Ontario through postmortem examinations carried out in our laboratories by trained pathologists.  Having the laboratory infrastructure needed to detect pathogens, the AHL is able to provide an efficient early warning system for a wide range of diseases.  Subsequently, the confidence in Ontario agriculture and trade is maintained internationally.
          Within one year, the AHL typically sends over 200 samples to CFIA for reportable disease testing.  Confirmatory testing in suspect cases of reportable/notifiable diseases - including avian influenza, Newcastle disease, infectious laryngotracheitis, rabies, tuberculosis, BSE, CWD, scrapie, eastern/western equine encephalitis, brucellosis, and bluetongue - is crucial to maintaining trade and for public health/food safety.
          The AHL also plays an important role in public health by identifying pathogens common to animals and people.  Individuals who submitted animals with zoonotic diseases are informed of the health hazard, and trends in the frequency of these pathogens (e.g., rabies, Salmonella sp., tuberculosis, etc) in the province are identified and communicated.

          Because the AHL monitors trends in existing diseases, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is able to respond rapidly and efficiently to health threats to the livestock and poultry industries.  As a partner with OMAFRA in the Ontario Animal Health Network (OAHN), the AHL contributes to maintaining healthy animals and safe food in Ontario.  By providing information on disease trends, policy or decision makers have information readily available to perform risk assessments, to evaluate control strategies, to identify research needs, and to facilitate planning.

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      In the Toxicology section (located at 95 Stone road, Guelph), we analyze animal specimens, food/water, and environmental samples to detect the presence of potentially toxic compounds and determine whether poisons, excesses, or deficiencies are responsible for animal illness or death. Interpretations and consultations are provided by our toxicologist/clinical pathologist, Dr. Felipe Reggeti. Under the supervision of Nick Schrier, our analytical chemist, the highly trained technical staff provide a wide range of toxicological testing, including organic substances (pesticides, industrial pollutants, anticoagulants rodenticides, feed additives and drugs), inorganic elements (trace minerals and heavy metals), as well as miscellaneous testing (e.g. vitamin E and cholinesterase enzyme activity).

     Toxicology is well equipped with analytical instrumentation, including HPLC, GC-MS (Triple Quadrupole), LC-MS/MS, ICP-OES and ICP-MS. As part of Laboratory Services Division, the AHL Toxicology laboratory has access to testing offered through the Agriculture and Food laboratory (AFL), including services provided by the Chemistry (multi-analyte drug screen), Immunochemistry (mycotoxins), Soil and Nutrient (ammonium and nitrate) and Microscopy sections (scanning electron microscope and infrared spectroscopy - FTIR).

Contacts: Toxicologist/Clinical Pathologist: Felipe Reggeti, DVM, PhD, DABT, DACVP (freggeti@uoguelph.ca)

Technical supervisor: Nick Schrier, MSc (nschrier@uoguelph.ca)

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          The experienced staff in this section provide a wide range of services for veterinarians dealing with food-producing animals, companion animals, and birds.  The service includes antigen/nucleic acid/antibody detection tests for all of the common mammalian and avian viruses, plus various bacteria and mycoplasmas.  This lab section is staffed by a full-time veterinary virologist/immunologist (Dr. Davor Ojkic) and 20 well-trained technical staff working within a comprehensive quality system.                   

          Testing for the Ontario Hatchery and Supply Flock Policy is also provided by the experienced staff in our virology lab.  They process a large volume of samples annually in support of keeping Ontario free from Salmonella Pullorum/typhoid, and perform a range of tests, including various poultry mycoplasma tests. 

          For details on individual tests, sampling requirements, usual days tested, turnaround times, and fees, please see the AHL Fee Schedule.

Contact:  ahlviro@uoguelph.ca