Zoo Medicine Infectious Disease Testing

photograph of a green iguana

Welcome to the

ZooMed Diagnostic Laboratory at the



This laboratory is both a research lab as well as a diagnostic lab. This means that as new methods and species are discovered, protocols will continually be updated (Current offered; sample types; collection method).

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

Standard PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is, in simplest terms, 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. Zoo-Submission-Form-PCR is located here.

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 need 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.

April Childress, lab manager, should be contacted if you have questions about testing or sample collection as well as when samples are being shipped. Best method of contact is email since the lab phone is not answered or checked frequently.  Email is 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 vet school is not open over the weekend or holidays.  If something happens during a shipment on a Thursday, the sample would sit until the following business day, making the sample unusable.