Zoo Medicine Infectious Disease Testing

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Welcome to the ZooMed Diagnostic Laboratory

The UF ZooMed Diagnostic Laboratory is a research lab as well as a diagnostic lab. This means that as new methods and species are discovered, protocols will be updated continually.

It is important to understand the difference between assays that are offered and samples that would be appropriate for each test. The collection method is also critical.

Standard PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is the ability to amplify a specific gene with the use of specially designed primers. Any standard PCR is run with a known negative and known positive sample to ensure each reaction is run properly.  If a sample appears suspect, it is automatically submitted for sequencing to confirm what species is being detected.  After sequence confirmation is completed, a result is sent out. Click here to access the PCR zoo submission form.

Quantitative (qPCR aka Real Time) PCR is the ability to detect the amount of a specific virus/gene present in a sample. This is especially useful when determining how much treatment should be given, as well as seeing if the treatment has worked over a period of time.

Serology is only offered for Paramyxovirus Group B. Plasma is tested looking specifically for antibodies present in this group, not active infection.  If a snake were to show a positive titer, it is suggested to retest that animal by PCR to determine if there is an active infection.

Interpretation of any results needs to be done in appropriate clinical context. To reduce misinterpretation and misuse of results, we only accept samples submitted by licensed veterinarians.  The submitting vet or institution will also be responsible for payment.

Please contact April Childress, lab manager, if you have questions about testing or sample collection as well as when samples are being shipped. The best method of contact is via email to childressa@ufl.edu.

All samples should be shipped standard overnight on enough ice packs to keep samples cold/frozen. It is not ideal to ship after Wednesday.  The UF Diagnostic Laboratories is not open on weekends or holidays.  If something happens during a shipment on a Thursday, the sample would sit until the following business day, making the sample unusable.

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