UVDL Quarterly Newsletter Welcome!

Fall 2014
detection does not definitively rule
out salmonellosis since the
bacterium is shed intermittently.
Consequently, a several-day
pooled fecal sample is optimal to
maximize detection.
Hello everyone:
Welcome to the first issue of the
Utah Veterinary Diagnostic
Laboratory (UVDL) newsletter.
From this point forward, the
laboratory intends to publish a
newsletter quarterly. Diseases
diagnosed at the laboratory, new
tests or procedures and new
personnel will be highlighted. In
this edition, Dr. Johanna Rigas,
and the new clinical pathology
section, are introduced.
Comments concerning the
zoonotic potential of salmonellosis
and information on pigeon fever in
horses and elk follow. Should you
have suggestions as to the content
of future editions, please contact
Dr. E. Jane Kelly
([email protected] or 435-6231402)
Salmonellosis as a zoonosis
By Dr. E. Jane Kelly
Dr. Rigas’ bio
By Dr. Tom Baldwin
Salmonellosis in young calves and
piglets has been diagnosed
recently on multiple farms. As a
potential zoonosis, veterinarians
should caution clients to wear
gloves and/or frequently wash
hands when working with affected
animals. Young children, the
elderly and immunosuppressed
individuals should not be around
sick animals. The bacterium can
spread on fomites, such as boots
and bottles, making control
difficult. The UVDL can culture
feces, intestine, lymph node or
other tissues/samples from
diseased animals. Please
remember that absence of
Dr. Johanna Rigas initiated the
clinical pathology section of the
UVDL in the summer of 2013
when she started her appointment
at Utah State University. The
clinical pathology laboratory is a
reference laboratory for veterinary
practitioners and researchers in the
state of Utah and surrounding
region. Specifically, this
laboratory provides hematology,
biochemistry, hormone, and urine
testing for veterinary samples. Dr.
Rigas is also a specialist in the
interpretation of cytologic
specimens and fluid samples from
veterinary species.
UVDL QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER | Dr. Rigas completed her
undergraduate training in cellular
and molecular biology at Western
Washington University in 1999.
Based on biomedical research
conducted at Oregon Health and
Science University, she received a
Master’s degree in biology at
Portland State University in 2004.
In 2008, she obtained a Doctor of
Veterinary Medicine degree at
Oregon State University College
of Veterinary Medicine.
Continuing on at Oregon State
University, she completed a
residency in veterinary clinical
pathology and became board
certified (ACVP) in 2011.
From 2011 to 2013, she worked as
a diagnostic veterinary clinical
pathologist at Washington State
University College of Veterinary
Medicine, and then as a clinician
within the community practice
section. She is now an adjunct
faculty member at Washington
State University College of Veterinary Medicine and an
assistant professor at Utah State
University College of Veterinary
Medicine within the Department
of Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary
Clinical pathology now at
the UVDL
by Tina Conrad
The Utah Veterinary Diagnostic
Laboratory now has a Clinical
Pathology service providing
hematology, cytology, chemistry,
endocrinology, and urinalysis
Hematology procedures include
complete blood cell counts with
differential, platelet count, plasma
protein, and fibrinogen on large
animal samples. Avian and reptile
CBCs are available, as well as
blood smear reviews, reticulocyte
counts and fecal occult blood.
Cytology exams are performed on
tissue aspirates, discharges,
imprints, scrapings, bone marrow
aspirates and body cavity
effusions. Cerebrospinal fluid and
body fluid analyses include cell
counts and protein concentration.
Chemistry profiles available
include large and small animal
panels, an avian/reptile panel, liver
and renal panels, a large
animal/lipid panel that includes
BHB and NEFA, and a bovine
metabolic panel. Individual
chemistry tests are also available
including total bile acids, GLDH,
SDH and Phenobarbital.
Total T4, Free T4, and TSH are
available. Baseline cortisol,
ACTH stimulation and
Dexamethansone suppression tests
are performed as well as urine
cortisol:creatinine ratios and
The clinical pathology service is
available Monday through Friday,
8 AM to 5 PM, and all tests are
run daily with less than a 24 hour
turnaround time. Please see the
sample submission and fee
schedule at the UVDL website
(http://www.usu.edu/uvdl/) under
the Services section.
Pigeon Fever in horses and
farmed elk
by Dr. E. Jane Kelly
An increase in cases of pigeon
fever in horses has been noted this
year. Such upswings occur every
few years so this is not
necesssarily unusual. In addition
to horses, pigeon fever has been
diagnosed in farmed elk and one
cow. The causative agent is the
Gram-positive, rod-shaped
bacterium Corynebacterium
Infection with C. pseudotuberculosis may result in
subcutaneous or intramuscular
abscesses or disseminated disease.
Infection occurs in many different
species worldwide, including
human beings (lymphadenitis). In
horses, the bacterium causes an
infection of the limbs called
ulcerative lymphangitis, and in the
dry, western and southwestern
states, cellulitis and myositis.
As seen this year, pigeon fever
occurs in cattle also. In sheep and
goats, C. pseudotuberculosis
causes caseous lymphadenitis, a
disease characterized by abscessed
superficial lymph nodes as well as
abscesses in various internal
UVDL QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER | In equine pigeon fever, peripheral
abscesses form mainly in the
pectoral muscles and ventral
abdominal regions, but occur also
on the legs and neck. Abscesses
may be large and take months to
resolve. Abdominal abscessation
is less common. Fever and weight
loss may accompany abscesses.
Most cases of pigeon fever with
only peripheral abscesses are not
fatal. Prognosis is worse when
there are internal abscesses.
Definitive diagnosis requires
isolation of C. pseudotuberculosis
from abscesses or lesions.
Samples taken by rubbing a swab
on the inside wall of an abscess
rather than simply inserted into the
center are most effective.
Pigeon fever may occur at any
time of year, but most cases are
diagnosed in the summer and fall.
Infection is acquired through skin
wounds, arthropod vectors, and
fomites contaminated with the
In elk, a somewhat different
clinical picture has emerged.
Infection involves the head most
often, less frequently legs and
As few cases have been
documented, there is little
understood about the
epidemiology. There does seem to
be a higher prevalence in the
summer and fall, which correlates
with fly season. Age or sex
predilections have not been noted,
although bulls with facial lesions
seem to have a higher fatality rate.
In other species, infection is often
acquired via bacterial
contamination of wounds (e.g.
shearing, intramuscular injections)
and the same situation likely
occurs in elk. Perhaps fighting
amongst bull elk predispose to
facial and head abscesses.
Alternatively, elk may rub or
scratch on feeders or other objects
including fencing. One
necropsied elk had foreign plant
material within an abscess,
suggesting local trauma
predisposed to infection. One
producer indicated that infection
in two animals originated in the
eyes. A possible explanation
could be animals rubbing their
heads against contaminated
surfaces or transmission via
insects attracted to the eyes.
Photo courtesy of Utah Division of
Wildlife Resources
Testing fees for
Tritrichomonas foetus, 2014
– 2105
by Tom Baldwin
Testing fees for Tritrichomonas
foetus for Fall 2014 – Spring 2015
Individual samples .......... $20 each
Five sample pool ....... $35 per pool
In addition, each submission
incurs an $8 accession fee.
Use of Biomed’s TF-Transit tubes
is recommended, although
samples placed in Biomed
InPouch TF pouches may still be