In this issue

AHL holiday hours 2019/20

Except for Wed. Dec. 25 (closed – no service), AHL-Guelph is open every day from Sat. Dec. 21 until Wed. Jan. 1, 2020 with limited services.  The University of Guelph is officially closed during this period.

AHL-Guelph – Saturday services include: specimen reception, emergency mammalian postmortems, full bacteriology set-up, as well as clinical pathology testing.

AHL-Guelph – Sunday and statutory holiday (Dec. 26, Jan. 1) services include: specimen receiving, emergency mammalian postmortems, and bacteriology set-up.

AHL-Guelph and AHL-Kemptville - open December 23, 24, 27, 30 and 31.

Guelph and Kemptville drop box and/or fridges are available 365/24/7 for specimen drop off.

For full details, please see our website –

Seasons Greetings from the staff of the Animal Health Laboratory

Cold weather shipping reminder

Jim Fairles  

Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

AHL Newsletter 2019;23(4):2-3.

Winter has come a little early this year! Given that, we need to start thinking about preventing samples from freezing. Specimens such as EDTA blood are rendered useless when frozen. Formalin will also freeze, which creates artifacts in fixed tissue. The photo on the left is a normal H&E section of lymph node and the photo on the right is the same tissue that was frozen before processing and preparation of histopathology slides (Fig. 1).

Figure 1.  Histopathologic sections of a lymph node (H&E). The tissue on the left was processed normally. The node on the right was frozen prior to processing. Note the severe distortion produced by vacuolation of tissue.

It can be difficult to protect samples that are shipped during the winter from severe cold. To inhibit or reduce formalin freezing, add 1 mL of ethanol per 10 mL of formalin. Samples that should not be frozen should be shipped inside insulated containers with minimal cold packs. Use of room temperature cold packs will help prevent temperatures from dipping too low. If you have any concerns about the best way to ship critical samples, please contact the AHL.  ahlinfo@uoguelph.


Johne’s (Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis) (MAP) antibody testing update in goats.

Jim Fairles 

Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph, ON

AHL Newsletter 2019;23(3-4):9.

Since 2014, AHL has been following the testing procedures recommended in research from Cathy Bauman et al. at the University of Guelph(1). This research indicated that the MAP Paracheck (Prionics) ELISA kit was the most sensitive test for antibody detection in goats. AHL has been sending submissions for this test to an equivalent (AAVLD accredited) laboratory. Currently, the Paracheck kit is unavailable in North America. AHL will now be sending caprine serologic samples to an equivalent lab (AAVLD accredited) that uses the Zoetis MAP antibody ELISA test kit. This test has been validated in cattle and goats. Please contact us if you have any questions


AHL achieves successful AAVLD and SCC laboratory re-accreditation status

Liz King     

Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

AHL Newsletter 2019;23(4):4.

In May 2019, the Animal Health Laboratory was peer-audited for 4 days by four technical experts from the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD). It was a successful audit and AHL met the AAVLD standard to maintain “Full Accreditation/All species” for 5 years. Full accreditation for 5 years is the highest level of accreditation awarded by this organization.

In October and November, we had our biennial Standards Council of Canada (SCC) audit. This audit is required to maintain our accreditation to the International OIE Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017 “General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories”, as documented on our scope of accreditation ( The SCC audit teams examine processes and records for each testing laboratory section, in addition to specimen reception, client services, facility, human resources, information technology, purchasing, quality assurance, our internal audit program, as well as verifying management commitment to our quality system. 

The strength of our mature quality system and knowledgeable staff was evidenced during all external audits by the many commendations we received from the AAVLD and SCC audit teams. Although it is a significant investment in time and resources for us to maintain our multiple accreditations, these external audits ensure that we maintain the highest degree of technical competence and promote continuous improvement of client services.

OAHN update - December 2019

Michael Deane and Kate Todd 

Animal Health Laboratory, University of Guelph, ON

AHL Newsletter 2019;23(4):5.

The Ontario Animal Health Network has been busy throughout the fall, releasing new podcasts, infographics, as well as fish and small flock poultry veterinary videos. We will be holding our annual workshop at the end of November, bringing together veterinarians, researchers, people from industry and provincial government agencies, and AHL pathologists to plan OAHN’s coming year. Many networks have recently completed some exciting research projects, with more on the way before the end of the year. Read on to find links and descriptions of what we’ve been working on. Be sure to check out for new reports, lab data and resources.

CIRDC infographic and broodmare health podcast

Equine Infographic The OAHN Equine Network created a new podcast: Broodmare Health! How to manage and reduce the impact of EHV-1 abortion in your broodmare herd. In this episode, OAHN Equine Network co-lead Dr. Alison Moore is joined by Dr. Tracey Chenier, Associate Professor of Theriogenology at the Ontario Veterinary College, to discuss equine herpesvirus-1 abortion in mares and farm biosecurity measures.
Canine Infectious reespiratory disease complex icon The OAHN Companion Animal Network created a new infographic on canine infectious respiratory disease complex. The infographic covers diagnostics, initial treatment, and indications for prudent use of antimicrobials.

OAHN small flock poultry and fish veterinary video series

The OAHN Fish Network produced a series of videos for veterinarians and videos for those interested in the aquaculture industry on some common veterinary procedures and clinical conditions affecting aquaculture species. These videos can be found at:

OAHN has been working with Dr. Victoria Bowes, a diagnostic avian pathologist with a special interest in small flock medicine, to produce a series of videos to assist veterinarians treating small flock poultry. Recently released videos on the topic of enteric disease in small flock poultry can be found at:

 Completed Research Projects 

Each OAHN network has embarked on one or more research initiatives related to disease surveillance for their specific species. Find details below:

OAHN Wildlife research project: Characterizing the spatial patterns of chronic wasting disease susceptibility in white-tailed deer -