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More than Meets the Eye when Diagnosing Animal Health Problems

16 April 2015, at 1:00am

US - Every day, veterinarians and producers use diagnostic tests as a tool to maintain animal health.

The process of collecting tissue or blood samples, submitting them to a diagnostic lab and then reviewing the results seems simple … but if steps along the way go awry, the results can sometimes lead to decisions that aren’t optimal.

Dr Bruce Akey, a veterinarian and director of the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory, talks about the steps in the process of getting diagnostic test results.

While many aspects of animal health are highly regulated, that’s not the case for all types of diagnostic testing. There are standards in place for testing prescribed by USDA and state authorities, but that’s only a small fraction of the testing done in diagnostic labs. Dr Akey says there are no national regulations for conducting and interpreting other diagnostic tests, which can lead to variation.

To help reduce the potential for variation, more diagnostics labs are taking steps to ensure standardisation and accreditation, according to Dr Akey.

Beyond that, producers should work with their veterinarians to make sure they’re using recommended procedures for collecting and getting test samples to the labs. And Dr Akey encourages a healthy dialogue with labs to make sure there are no questions about test results.

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