The University of Kentucky’s new Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is better prepared now to tackle the next ‘surprise’ disease in animal agriculture. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday at the renovated lab in Lexington.
It was ten years ago when ‘mare reproductive loss syndrome’ crippled the thoroughbred breeding business. UK Dean of the College of Agriculture, Scott Smith says another such disease could surface some day.
“And if you look around the world you have to expect that someday, a new disease, a disease introduced from another continent or an outbreak of bird flu or west nile virus…that one of those is going to hit us in a very very big way…that may affect both the health of animals and the health of people,” said Smith.
Timing is everything when trying to determine the cause of a sickness and what’s the best way to treat the illness. It’s the same situation with the animal in agriculture. The official dedication of the University of Kentucky’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory was held Friday. Lab director, Craig Carter says the new facility will help in tracking down answers to health problems.
“It’s just like with your physician. The earlier you get a diagnosis, the better your outcome is gonna be, either with the animal or other animals that were infected on a farm,” said Carter.
Staff at the new University of Kentucky Veterinary Diagnostic Laborator spend much of their time working on horse related issues. Carter says it comprises about 50 to 60 percent of their time. Still, He says the newly renovated complex allows for disease work in several other areas.
“We have a very fast growing sheep and goat industry. Our poultry industry is now a billion dollar industry in Kentucky and we do a lot of work certifying their flock and doing testing, surveillance for their flock,” added Carter.
Carter says the biggest advantage of the expanded diagnostic facility is simply having new space and equipment. He says the 40 year old lab was almost totally non functional before the 28 million dollar project was undertaken.