March 2023

Newsletter Content

C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory

You Asked, We Answered…

Welcome to the first issue of the C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory (KAHDL) newsletter. We appreciate your partnership in maintaining the health of animals across our state and beyond, and we are endeavoring to improve our communication with our stakeholders. These newsletters will be used to share important updates about our test catalog, online portal, and submission policies. 

We will also share helpful resources on various diseases and include an employee spotlight to better connect you with those performing diagnostic work. We anticipate distributing this newsletter quarterly; however, there may be special editions to share information about disease outbreaks and other time-sensitive events.

This newsletter was initiated based on customer feedback, and we welcome comments and suggestions. Hearing from you and learning more about your diagnostic needs is critical to our continual improvement. At the conclusion of the newsletter, you will find a button that says “Email Us” – feel free to use it. All feedback is welcome.

Thank you for choosing KAHDL for your veterinary diagnostic needs, and we look forward to continuing to serve you.

Adam Travis, PhD | Lab Director

Pathologist Spotlight   |   Robyn Haines, DVM, PhD, DACVP

Dr. Robyn Haines is the lead pathologist at the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s C.E. Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory. Dr. Haines graduated Magna Cum Laude from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008, received a PhD in Experimental Pathobiology from The Ohio State University Department of Veterinary Biosciences in 2012, completed a residency in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in the Department of Veterinary Biosciences in 2012, and is board certified in Veterinary Anatomic Pathology by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists. In 2012 she joined the Tennessee Department of Agriculture providing a wide range of services to Tennessee residents including: performing necropsies (animal autopsies) and disease investigations on a variety of species, interpreting surgical biopsies, and providing reports for assisting clinicians in treatment of companion animals, testifying and preparing documents for animal cruelty cases. In 2016 she accepted additional responsibilities related to Quality Assurance. Since that time, she has been instrumental to maintaining the laboratory's accreditation and transitioning to our new laboratory information management system. We are very fortunate to have her on our team!

Johne's PCR vs. Johne's ELISA

We receive many questions about the differences between our Johne's and Johne's PCR teste. Johne’s PCR tests for the presence of nucleic acids (genetic material) specific to the causative agent of Johne’s, Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis, or MAP. Johne’s ELISA, however, tests for the presence of serum antibodies against MAP. Which test is the more appropriate for you depends on a number of factors, such as the age of the animal, stage of infection, and diagnostic purpose (screening vs clinically ill animal). For example, antibodies against an infectious agent are not produced immediately after infection; there is a lag phase (pictured above). If an animal’s immune system is successful at defending against infection, antibodies may persist even after the disease has been eliminated. 

Johne’s is a challenging disease for many reasons. The graph above in no way adequately portrays the timeline for Johne’s disease progression or the resistance of MAP to elimination. The best advice we can provide is to work with your veterinarian to develop a tailored diagnostic plan. Developing this relationship is the best way to protect your financial investment and ensure your individual concerns are addressed. If you have cattle, the link below is a great resource to help prepare you for that conversation. Information about Johne’s in other species can be found by selecting a different Animal Type in the toolbar at the top of the article.

Nymph and adult female, top view. Photo courtesy of USDA.

Theileria orientalis Ikeda Testing Now Available

Theileria orientalis Ikeda is a tickborne protozoon that infects the red and white blood cells of cattle and can cause bovine infectious anemia. It is carried by the Asian Longhorn tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis, pictured above) that has been found in the state of Tennessee. KAHDL now has bovine herd testing available for the Theileria orientalis Ikeda specific strain. Samples must be submitted in a purple top (EDTA) blood tube. 

Neospora caninum ELISA Testing Now Available for Ruminants

Neospora caninum is a protozoal organism that is associated with abortion in cattle and the birth of weak calves. Dogs are definitive hosts for this organism and can spread Neospora caninum to ruminants through their feces. Cattle can become infected by ingesting the organism in feeds that are contaminated with infected dog feces, but vertical transmission from infected cows is also possible. Abortions due to Neospora caninum infection usually occur at 5-6 months of pregnancy, and they are more common in dairy cattle than beef cattle. KAHDL now offers Neospora caninum ELISA testing on ruminants. Samples must be submitted in red top blood tubes.