The Analytical Chemistry Section encompasses Toxicology and Drug Testing.
- In Toxicology, specimens are analyzed to diagnose poisonings and toxins. Specimens analyzed may include animal tissues, ingesta, blood, urine, plants, feed, hay, water, baits, fertilizer, etc. Toxicology staff can also identify poisonous plants and nutritional deficiencies of trace metals and vitamins.
- The Drug Testing Laboratory (DTL) was established in 1987 in response to the passage of the Texas Racing Act. In addition to its primary responsibilities of analyzing samples from racehorses and greyhounds for illegal drugs, the DTL also tests samples for livestock shows, fitness screens, other racing jurisdictions, and various racing and horse industry entities. The DTL holds accreditation from the Racing Medication Testing Consortium (RMTC) and earned ISO17025 accreditation in 2014 from the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation.
The Bacteriology Section is responsible for bacterial and fungal cultures of samples submitted to TVMDL. The identification of organisms cultured from the tissues of live or dead animals can provide critical information that can be utilized in individual animal treatment decisions or provide the veterinarian and producer information that is essential for herd/flock health management decisions.
The Client Services section encompasses data entry and specimen receiving functions. Staff in these sections are responsible for taking in samples and associated paperwork, assigning the case to the appropriate section(s), scanning paperwork, and entering data from each case into LIMS. Client Services staff are the primary customer service branch of our agency, interacting with clients via phone and email every day.
The Clinical Pathology Section of TVMDL performs tests on samples obtained from domestic animals, zoo animals, wildlife species, reptiles and a variety of avian species. Specimens submitted for analysis include blood, body fluids and tissue fluids or secretions. Many of today’s veterinary hospitals have in-house blood chemistry and hematology units. TVMDL increasingly serves to confirm or verify these in-house results.
The Endocrinology Section uses state-of-the-art technology to determine the levels of various hormones and other components of blood and to aid in the confirmation of diseases, the detection of pregnancy, and the stages of the estrous cycle. In addition, analysis is performed on both fresh and frozen semen to evaluate the fertility status of male breeding animals.
The Histopathology Section examines tissues collected at necropsy or biopsy samples taken from live animals. Microscopic examination of tissues often allows for the differentiation between infectious, neoplastic, toxic, nutritional, degenerative and immune-mediated diseases. The distinction between these disease processes or abnormalities are often critical to the choice of laboratory test to be completed and provide essential information that may lead to a definitive diagnosis.
The Molecular Diagnostics Section performs tests based on the identification of minute amounts of genetic material (DNA or RNA) derived from infectious microbes in tissues submitted for diagnosis. This section is capable of the identification of both viral and bacterial pathogens using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which does not require culturing pathogens, thus eliminating the need to isolate or culture the pathogen, making the test results available quicker. A limited number of tests designed to detect genetic defects are also offered.
The Necropsy Section performs necropsies on deceased animals to determine a probable cause of death or to collect specimens for additional testing, the results of which may be used to select the appropriate treatment for other animals in a herd, band, flock, kennel or litter of animals. Reasons for performing a necropsy often have a legal or disease investigation basis.
The laboratories located in Center and Gonzales are dedicated to Poultry Diagnostics. These labs provide testing services which include necropsy, molecular diagnostics, microbiology, histopathology, serology, monitoring poultry flock health status, and diagnosing disease in all avian species. The College Station and Canyon laboratories also maintain expertise in all these fields and provide most of these services for the poultry industry.
TVMDL is also charged with the administration of the Texas Pullorum-Typhoid Act passed by the Texas Legislature. TVMDL trains volunteer testers throughout the state who in turn survey thousands of birds for these diseases in every corner of the state to keep the incidence of Salmonella pullorum low and to protect all poultry operations in the state.
The Serology Section diagnoses many infectious diseases by determining the presence of antibodies in submitted serum and/or cerebrospinal fluid. This section also conducts many tests required for interstate or international shipment of food animals, companion animals, and their genetic products.
TVMDL’s Veterinary Services Section provides consultation services to TVMDL clients in the areas of test selection and testing strategies, interpretation of results, and disease prevention, surveillance, and control programs. Veterinarians are available to provide guidance and direction to clients on diagnostic tests requested, case development, and case reporting. Staff also delivers presentations, educational programs and training for students, veterinarians, producers and industry partners at the state, national and international level.
The Virology Section is responsible for identifying viruses or immune response to viruses in tissue samples taken from animals that are clinically ill or are suspected of acting as sub-clinical carriers of viruses capable of causing disease in other animals. Many viral infections may be treatable; their diagnosis can be important in determining the prospect of recovery or in determining health management decisions to prevent the spread or future occurrence of the disease.