College of Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory



Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus Detected in U.S.
Information provided by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV)

On Thursday May 16, 2013, National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL), in close collaboration with Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (ISU-VDL), reported that Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) has been detected in the United States. PEDV causes outbreaks of diarrhea and vomiting in swine. It is not a zoonotic disease, does not affect people, and is not a food safety concern.

Although this is the first known detection in the United States, PED exists in many parts of the world and is not considered a foreign animal disease in the US, but rather a transboundary disease.

The AASV is in contact with the USDA, state animal health officials, National Pork Board and National Pork Producers Council. Federal and state animal health officials are monitoring the situation. Development of an epidemiological survey instrument has begun. It is expected that herd veterinarians will be actively involved in the information gathering.

Veterinarians should contact the VDL to determine what samples are preferred.

Click here to go directly to the test information

A short fact sheet about the disease is available here:


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2013 MVMA presentations:  Salmonella dublin infections in dairy cattle and microscopic examination of dairy cow teats (J. Schefers).



Clostridial abomasitis and abomasal bloating in calves

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Summary of Salmonella serotypes isolated from bovine samples at the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

click here

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VDL Advisory Committee dissolved

click here to view to the letter

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Long term storage information

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Lead poisoning in livestock

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Electronic Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) submissions (8/1/12)

The VDL can now report Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) test results electronically using Veterinary Services Process Streamlining (VSPS).

The veterinarian will have to create an eAuthentication-Level 2 account for submitting samples through this system. Once this account is created, a VSPS profile will be created with role of accredited veterinarians. Details about creating eAuth account and accredited veterinarian profile are given here and also available online at   After eAuth account is opened, the veterinarians will complete Form 513. Once this profile is created, the veterinarian will be able to submit samples through this system.

Click here for a presentation showing VSPS training for accredited veterinarians and here for instructions on how to create an online Coggins form.

IMPORTANT: While submitting samples for testing at the VDL, a printed unofficial copy of Coggins form (VS10-11) should be sent with the submission stating “for electronic processing”.

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"A Wildlife Vet, a Pigeon, a Groundbreaking Discovery" (1/31/12)

This Scientific American guest blog by Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota veterinarian Dr. Leslie Reed details the discovery of Sarcocystis calchasi in a Minnesota pigeon. VDL pathologist Dr. Arno Wunschmann was instrumental in identifying the parasite for the first time in the U. S.

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President Kaler Visits VDL, Meets With Researchers (12/5/11)

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler toured the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) and met with College of Veterinary Medicine researchers in a Thanksgiving Eve visit on November 23. The president heard about the mission of the VDL from Dr. Jim Collins, director, and about veterinary research from Dr. Robert Washabau, chair of the Veterinary Clinical Sciences Department.

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler (left) learns more about the mission of the VDL from Lab Director Dr. James Collins during his visit on November 23, 2011.

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VDL To Remain Open in the Event of a State Government Shutdown (6/29/11)

The University of MN will remain open in the event of a state government shutdown. University officials will closely monitor the situation at the Capitol and continue developing contingency plans in case the shutdown should stretch into late summer. For more information, see this news release.

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VDL Conducted Client Satisfaction Survey (6/28/11)

Click here for an overview of the results.

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"Lab at U of M Has Huge Job of Testing for CWD" (3/5/11)

VDL director, Dr. James Collins, and assistant scientist Lotus Smasal were interviewed for this article and video from the Post-Bulletin of Rochester, MN.

Click the video on the right or read the full article on


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"Can Chronic Wasting Disease Jump From Deer to Humans?" (2/9/11)

This February 9 KARE 11 news story included an interview with Dr. Jeff Bender, director of the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety. VDL assistant scientist Lotus Smasal was also quoted.

Click the video on the right or read the full article on


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Ensuring Sustainability for the VDL (3/22/10)

Informational Brochure

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VDL Passes NVSL Johne's Proficiency Panel (11/4/09)

The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) passed this year’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL) Johne’s Disease Fecal Proficiency Panel. NVSL sends laboratories bovine fecal samples to be tested for Johne’s Disease - some of the samples are positive and some are negative. Fifty laboratories across the country tested the samples and 40 correctly analyzed the samples. The VDL was able to identify the three low-shedding samples in the batch and accurately label them as positive. Congratulations to the VDL, which was deemed one of this year’s top performing laboratories. (From Animal Bytes, November 4, 2009)

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VDL Granted Full Accreditation (10/5/09)

The U of M Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) System, made up of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and Minnesota Poultry Testing Laboratory, was recently granted full accreditation for five years by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. The VDL needs to maintain full accreditation in order to conduct official testing. Without an accredited laboratory system in Minnesota, all official tests would have to be sent out of state, resulting in increased testing costs and a delay in obtaining test results.

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Dean Ames Thanks Supporters of VDL Appropriations Bill (9/8/09)

Trevor Ames, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, offers this letter of thanks to all supporters of bill HF 839/SF 754.

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Update - Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Legislative Funding (6/5/09)

The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory recently received a federally funded appropriation of $377,190 for laboratory equipment for the BSL-3 facility in 2009, thanks to a request from Representative Betty McCollum.

Minnesota's Higher Education Committee authorized money for the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) as part of the University of Minnesota’s operations and maintenance budget. The final amount is undetermined at this time pending finalization of the budget by the governor. Many commodity groups and organizations testified on behalf of this legislation and helped advocate for this much-needed funding to meet the VDL’s accreditation mandates.

Related Links:

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Bill Would Provide $1.25 Million for VDL (4/10/09)

On March 25, Dean Trevor Ames and Dr. Jim Collins, director of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL), testified before members of the Agriculture, Rural Economics, and Veterans Affairs Finance Committee regarding a legislative bill (HR 839) that would provide $1.25 million in funding to assist the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in meeting accreditation mandates as well as provide disease surveillance and diagnostic services.

Members of the Minnesota AgriGrowth Council, Minnesota Pork Producers, Minnesota Turkey Grower’s Association, and Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association testified in support of the bill. Jerry Schoenfield of the Minnesota Pork Producers noted that “the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory is important to livestock agriculture and Minnesota’s producers.”

For information on the bill, and to view the testimony, see:

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Increased Funding Sought for VDL (3/9/09)

Legislative bills (SF 754 and HR 839) have been introduced to increase state funding (through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture) to support critical services delivered by the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL). With issues such as bovine tuberculosis and avian influenza threatening the agricultural economy, introduction of diseases in freshwater fish and other food-safety concerns, the VDL is at the forefront of surveillance efforts. On March 5, Dean Trevor Ames and Dr. Jim Collins, VDL director, testified before the Senate Agriculture and Finance Committee. Senator Sharon L. Erickson Ropes noted “the VDL is a perfect example of a well-run research enterprise, and it needs to be funded . . . it must be strengthened to be prepared and ready to respond.”

Dr. Jim Collins, Senator Steve Dille and Dean Trevor Ames testify before the Senate Agriculture and Finance Committee.

For more information about the VDL's surveillance and emergency response efforts, and its plans for the increased funding, see:

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VIP's Tour VDL (1/28/09)

On January 13, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) hosted a group of legislators from the Minnesota Senate Committee on Agriculture and Veterans Affairs, including Jim Vickerman (chair), Sharon Erickson Ropes (vice chair), Steve Dille, Satveer Chaudhary, Joe Gimse, David Hann, Bill Ingebrigtsen, Paul Koering, Gary Kubly, Keith Langseth, Tony Laurey, Steve Murphy, Rod Skoe, and Dan Skogen. In addition, many legislative aides accompanied their senator.

Dean Trevor Ames kicked off the tour, accompanied by Dean Al Levine of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resources Sciences, Dean Bev Durgan of University of Minnesota Extension Service, Regent Patricia Simmons, and staff members John Byrnes, program director, U of M Extension, Sharon Staton, director of advancement, and Jan Williams, government relations liaison. The tour was lead by Dr. Jim Collins, VDL director, with faculty and staff members Marie Gramer, Ron Joki, Nick Phelps, Rob Porter, Kurt Rossow, Jeremy Schefers, Jerry Torrison, and Andre Ziegler participating in the delivery of information in a hands-on-environment. D.V.M. students were on hand to discuss the importance of veterinary medical education.

On January 16, Class V of the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership (MARL) Program toured the VDL (see photo). Members of this leadership academy included 32 people from across the state who will serve as leaders and ambassadors in agriculture. The same team of CVM faculty and staff participated in this tour, accompanied by Extension program leader Michael Liepold and MARL executive director Tim Alcorn.

Newly elected Minnesota State Representative Paul Torkelson was a graduate of this two-year leadership program. “Paul’s passion for agriculture will serve Minnesota’s animal agriculture well as he participates in the legislature,” comments Jan Williams, government relations liaison.  For more information on the MARL program, go to


Dr. Jeremy Schefers (right) addresses members of the MARL program during a tour of VDL's necropsy facility

The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) is the official laboratory of the Board of Animal Health and is a vital service to the health of Minnesota’s animals and people. Finding the causes of diseases and protecting scientists dealing with animals with highly virulent diseases are top priorities. The VDL is seeking $1.25 million in state support for increased funding to maintain this critical surveillance and testing service.

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