Research Projects at the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Overview-- The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory's primary mission is service to the agricultural industries
of Kentucky. However, in 2005, a new epidemiology program
commenced within the laboratory and several interesting collaborative
research projects are under way.
Animal Health and Grazing Systems
Craig Carter (PI), Lenn Harrison, Wade Northington et al.
Develop and implement a dynamic computational system to
enable near real-time veterinary epidemiologic investigations
for grazing animals.
Network diagram for a new statewide animal health information network that
will integrate data streams from the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory,
the Breathitt Veterinary Center, the Office of the State Veterinarian and
higher agencies such as the USDA and the OIE.
Animal Identification and Health Surveillance
Eric Vanzant (PI), Craig Carter (Co-PI) et al.
The UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is developing
a syndromic surveillance system that will monitor submissions
to the state's diagnostic laboratories that will provide
near real-time reporting. This system will enable centralized
electronic collection of data (demographics, herd data,
syndromes, risk factors, morbidity, mortality, etc.) from
veterinarians and farms to support diagnostic laboratory
and veterinary epidemiologic investigations. All observations
and results will be captured utilizing standardized methods,
taking advantage of a common lexicon (e.g. SNOMED). This
will allow for meaningful summarization and statistical
analysis of data collected relating to livestock in production
settings. This system will be fully graphical, user-definable,
and will utilize open database architecture. Furthermore,
the new system will build a data warehouse of collected
clinical signs, farm information, syndromic data, and more,
in a structured manner, allowing for continuous, ongoing
statistical analysis (e.g. temporal or spatial cluster
analysis) that will trigger disease alerts for possible
follow-on investigation. The data warehouse will also support
case-control studies, hypothesis testing, and retrospective
Macro-logic flowchart of laboratory data streams that will
be analyzed statistically to identify clusters of events in near real-time.
Once a cluster is identified, electronic alerts will be generated for
appropriate stakeholders to mount an appropriate health response (e.g.
field investigation, quarantine, vaccination program).
Is Rhodococcus equi a cause or an effect
of foal pneumonia?
UK Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and Texas A&M University
Noah Cohen (PI), Craig Carter (Co-PI) et
The objective of this study is to evaluate the extent
to which environmental burden of virulent Rhodococcus
equi at breeding farms predicts whether a farm has
pneumonia caused by R. equi among foals born and
raised at that farm. Of primary interest will be to clarify
whether the increased concentration of virulent organisms
occurs prior to development of clinical illness among foals.
Clarifying the temporal relationship of environmental burden
to the disease status of foals at farms will help to establish
whether increased environmental exposure to virulent R.
equi is a cause or effect of disease among foals at
farms. If environmental exposure is a cause of disease,
preventive strategies to reduce environmental contamination
may be effective for controlling R. equi foal
pneumonia at endemic farms.
Pneumonia is a leading cause of disease and death among foals
1 to 4 months of age. The most common form of severe pneumonia
in foals during this period is Rhodococcus
is generally prolonged, expensive, and not uniformly successful.
Projects at the Animal Genetic Testing and Research Lab
Overview-- Ongoing research at the Animal Genetic Testing and Research Laboratory focuses
on identifying mutations responsible for heritable disorders
and color mutations in horses and dogs. The goal is development
of DNA-based tests to identify carrier and affected animals
to assist owners in making informed decisions when breeding
Breed organizations with specific research interests are
encouraged to contact Dr.
Kathryn Graves to discuss their needs.
Maxwell H.Gluck Equine Research Center
Department of Veterinary Science, University of Kentucky
Lexington, Kentucky 40546-0099
Main Office (859) 257-4757
Fax (859) 257-8542