Fish, exotic, zoo, pocket pet, reptile, amphibian testing at the AHL

The various AHL pathologists specialize in the gross and histopathology of non-domestic species, including mammals, pocket pets, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. These animals are often affected by unique and species-specific diseases, necessitating a focused laboratory service. The AHL has progressively established this specialized expertise and focus and we have tested a wide range of samples covering disease diagnosis, surveillance and health checks. Public display animals and pets are generally intimately associated with their caregivers, owners, and the general public.  These animals also represent an important interface between animal and public health, and through laboratory testing and pathology screening act as a particularly critical indicator for potential zoonotic disease transmission.

We provide laboratory services to veterinary clinics, zoos and aquaria, other diagnostic laboratories, governmental institutions, and various universities. Dr. Heindrich Snyman located at AHL Kemptville, has a broad background in comparative pathology having worked with a variety of exotic, zoo, reptile, amphibian, fish, and invertebrate species. Dr. Snyman the AHL's case co-ordinator on fish pathology cases.

The AHL established a fish testing section in 2014, under the leadership of Dr. Hugh Cai. Since then, we have tested a wide range of samples covering disease diagnosis and surveillance, health checks, fish movement certification and fish export certification, and have reported several CFIA reportable diseases. Dr. Snyman is now case coordinator on fish pathology cases.

The AHL fish lab test spectrum includes:

  • Postmortem examinations and histopathology.
  • Wet mount microscopy examinations of gill and skin scrapings.
  • Bacterial culture and antimicrobial susceptibility testing, MALDI-TOF MS PCR and PCR DNA sequencing.
  • ISO 17025: accredited PCR testing for viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), koi herpesvirus (KHV), and infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV).  Myxobolus cerebralis (whirling disease pathogen). PCR is SCC accredited under AHL flexible scope adccreditation for PCR assays.
  • PCR for infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAV).

AHL exotic, zoo, pocket pet, reptile, amphibian molecular biology testing includes:

  • Pseudogymnoascus destructans PCR for bat white nose syndrome.
  • Echinococcus multilocularis, E. granulosus, and Taenia spp. - PCR panel.
  • Borrelia burgdorferi and Anaplasma phagocytophilum - PCR for ticks.
  • Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola - PCR for captive and wild snakes.
  • Encephalitozoon cuniculi in laboratory mice, rabbits, monkeys, dogs, rats, birds, guinea pigs – PCR.
  • Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis and B. salamandrivorans - PCR for amphibians including salamanders and caecilians.

For other virology and bacteriology testing, please contact AHLinfo@uoguelph.ca .