The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has introduced six tests to detect swine diseases. These tests are faster than the current detection methods and the organism being tested does not need to be alive as previously required.

“Protecting animal health is among the highest priorities of the swine industry,” says Jim Collins, DVM, director of the veterinary diagnostic laboratory. “The new tests provide producers and veterinarians with more options for disease diagnosis, and the increased surveillance benefits everyone.”

The new tests available at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory include polymerase chain reactions for detection of Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, Actinobacillus suis, Haemophilus parasuis and Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae. Also available are bacterial speciation by sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene and a screening ELISA test for detection of antibodies against Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae

“These are all important pathogens for the swine industry and can cause high death rates in the affected population causing an economic loss,” says Simone Oliveira, DVM, assistant clinical professor at the veterinary diagnostic laboratory. “The laboratory continues to create new tests to benefit the swine industry and producers by developing diagnostic tools that are faster thereby helping mitigate potential loss.”

Minnesota has about 6.4 million hogs on more than 6,200 farms, it ranks 3rd in the nation for total number of pigs. About 22,550 Minnesota residents are involved in various aspects of the pork industry, from production to processing and handling. Based on 2002 production levels, an estimated $808.2 million of personal income and $1.22 billion of gross state product are supported by the pork industry.

Established in 1904, the University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory identifies emerging diseases, develops new and more effective diagnostic methods and trains veterinarians and graduate students. It serves as the official laboratory of the Minnesota Board of Animal Health and is the state’s only full-service, accredited animal diagnostic facility, charged with diagnosing such infectious diseases as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome. The laboratory conducted more than 1.4 million diagnostic tests in 2005.

For more information about these tests, go to  www.vdl.umn.edu.

University of Minnesota