AHL Newsletter, December 2015

For a pdf copy of the December 2015 AHL Newsletter click here

Season’s Greetings from the staff of the Animal Health Laboratory

AHL Holiday Hours, 2015/16

Closed Christmas Day, Dec 25 & Boxing Day Dec 26. Otherwise, open with limited services.

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

Guelph - Usual Saturday services include: specimen receiving, emergency mammalian autopsies, full bacteriology set up, as well as clinical pathology testing. Statutory holiday services and usual Sunday services include: specimen receiving, emergency mammalian autopsies, and basic bacteriology set up.  For full details, please see our website—ahl.uoguelph.ca

Update on the Ontario Non-commercial Poultry Flock Disease Surveillance Project   

Marina Brash, Leonardo Susta, Michele Guerin, Csaba Varga

Despite the ever-increasing numbers of non-commercial poultry flocks in Ontario, we know very little about the disease prevalence, biosecurity, and husbandry practices of these flocks. In order to understand the management practices and to assess the baseline prevalence of relevant infectious diseases (viruses, bacteria, parasites) in non-commercial flocks in Ontario, OMAFRA and the University of Guelph, through the Animal Health Laboratory (AHL) and the Ontario Animal Health Network, have started a 2-year surveillance study that will run until September 29, 2017.

For the substantially discounted fee of $25.00 per submission - plus a completed submission form, husbandry questionnaire, and a signed participation consent form - owners of small flocks of chickens, turkeys, gamefowl, geese, and ducks, are encouraged to submit sick or dead birds, through their veterinarian, to the AHL in Guelph or Kemptville for postmortem examination and infectious agent testing. Results from this project will be used in developing educational tools to improve the health and welfare of backyard flocks.

For further details, visit http://www.guelphlabservices.com/AHL/Poultry_Flock_Disease.aspx or http://phrn.net/dis-surveillance-dr-susta-lab/, or     contact Dr. Marina Brash at 519-824-4120 x54550, email: mbrash@uoguelph.ca or Dr. Leonardo Susta at 519-824-4120 x54323, email: lsusta@uoguelph.ca

Cold weather shipping reminder  

Jim Fairles

It’s that time of year again when 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. It can be difficult to protect samples shipped during the winter from severe cold. Even 10% neutral-buffered formalin will freeze in harsh winter weather conditions. To prevent 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.ca

New services from AHL Molecular Biology/Mycoplasmology  

Hugh Cai

With the support of the OMAFRA Disease Surveillance Plan (DSP), the AHL Molecular Biology/Mycoplasmology Section has implemented the following assays:

· 18S rRNA gene sequencing for fungal identification from culture, fresh, fixed or frozen samples

· Batrachochytrium PCR for the identification of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and B. salamandrivorans, which case chytridiomycosis, a lethal fungal disease of amphibians.

· Echinococcus multilocularis and E. granulosus PCR for tissue and ascites samples.

· Fish bacterial culture and identification using MALDI-TOF MS, PCR and DNA sequencing.

· Fish postmortem and wet mount examination; fish histopathology (Dr. Nikki LePage).

· Fish viral PCR for viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV). The assay is accredited by ISO17025 under the AHL flexible scope.

· Honey bee viral and vitellogenin PCR will soon be ISO17025 accredited under the AHL flexible scope. Our honey bee testing services cover the detection of the following pathogens and biomarkers: acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV), black queen cell virus (BQCV), chronic bee paralysis virus (CBPV), deformed wing virus (DWV), Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV), Kashmir bee virus (KBV), sacbrood virus (SBV), Nosema apis, N. ceranae, Spiroplasma apis, S. melliferum, Crithida mellificae, Lotmaria passim, Apocephalus borealis, Tropilaelaps species (screening), Varroa destructor mites (haplotyping), vitellogenin mRNA (a marker of overall honey bee health).

· Mycoplasma iowae qPCR is now accredited with ISO17025 under the AHL flexible scope.

· M. hyopneumoniae mhp183 gene qPCR which is an upgrade from a gel based PCR with better sensitivity and shorter turnaround time.

· Mycoplasma meleagridis qPCR for avian samples.

· Mycoplasma species PCR, which uses an ATCC kit to identify over 60 Mycoplasma species mainly for detection of cell cultures mycoplasma contamination.

· Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola qPCR for snake fungal disease diagnosis.

· Small hive beetle (SHB) qPCR and DNA sequencing for confirmation of SHB ID of insects and larvae.

· Streptococcus equi subsp. equi eqbE gene qPCR, which is more sensitive than the original seM gene PCR.

For further information please contact ahlinfo@uoguelph.ca