EIA (Coggins) Testing Improvements at WVDL

Equine Infectious Anemia Virus (EIA/Coggins) Testing Improvements at WVDL

WVDL has adjusted pricing and removed out of state fees for EIA testing, which is performed at our Barron Laboratory. There are no accession fees on EIA testing and we are ready to provide high quality service to you and your horse owners.

WVDL remains open and operating at near-normal status at this time.

EIA Testing is in full swing at the Barron Laboratory and the WVDL is excited to launch new fee structure for this testing. We have eliminated out-of-state charges for EIA testing and have gone to a single price, $8/ sample for all EIA ELISA tests. We still do not charge an accession fee for EIA testing. Click here for a link to our EIA testing information.

EIA submissions are tested daily at the WVDL Barron Laboratory. Samples received by noon will have same day testing. Samples should consist of 1ml serum, refrigerated and shipped with cold pack. WVDL accepts three submission types for EIA testing: including the Official Federal VS 10-11 Form (carbon paper) , Global Vet Link (electronic), and the APHIS Veterinary Services Process Streaming (VSPS) (electronic).

We would like to bring your attention the release of new regulations by the USDA in October of 2019. Click here to see VSG-1520.1. This is a great document to reference when submitting samples for the requirements of submission and reporting of results.

If at any time you have question or concerns, feel free to contact the Barron Laboratory at 715-637-3151. We are happy to assist you.

Our exceptional service and dedication presents us an opportunity to be your EIA testing provider for years to come.

Operations update and guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 testing at WVDL April 15th, 2020

Operations update and guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 testing at WVDL April 15th, 2020

WVDL remains open and operating at near-normal status at this time. Please contact us with questions about testing and necropsy diagnostic testing.

WVDL is able to provide SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing in animal species on a limited, case-by-case basis using the information below.

WVDL may not be able to provide all testing requested.

Contact us with questions or testing needs.
SARS-CoV-2 is an OIE reportable disease

WVDL is accredited by the American Association of Laboratory Veterinary Diagnosticians (AAVLD). At this time, AAVDL does not recommend routine or blanket testing for SARS-CoV-2 of any animal species in North America. AAVLD strongly encourages adherence to the CDC/USDA guidelines (see guidelines here) for testing on an individual, case-by-case basis, as described below.

All AAVLD laboratories have limited resources to maintain core animal health capacities while assisting our human health peers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in people. SARS-CoV-2 testing of animals in large numbers will compete for, and diminish, resources available for the United States and Canada to respond to the pandemic in people.

Purpose for testing, a key element in the validation of diagnostic tests that is to establish diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, has not been determined for SARS-CoV-2 testing in animals. Routine testing of sick animals is not warranted unless there is an epidemiologic need as outlined below.

Involvement of the State Animal and Public Health Officials is critical for authorization of testing of an animal of any species. Justification for testing should be communicated to those officials in each state for a collaborative and highly targeted testing, when needed. Justification for testing may include:

  • Common causes of the patient’s clinical signs have been ruled out and the history strongly suggests exposure to SARS-CoV-2.
  • Atypical pattern of disease suggesting a novel pathogen in a mass care situation, such as an animal shelter. The request for diagnostics should include a preliminary rule out of common causes of illness.
  • Atypical pattern of disease suggesting SARS-CoV-2 infection of recently imported animals. Appropriate diagnostic should be used for preliminary rule out of common causes of illness.
  • Testing is part of approved research projects gathering scientific information to better understand if and how pets could be affected by SARS-CoV-2 and help clarify the role, if any, of pets in human COVID-19. The project should have approved biosafety and animal care and use protocols.

Further guidance for veterinarians: COVID-19 is an OIE notifiable disease and must be reported to DATCP (ATCP 10 Appendix A). All presumptive positive results require confirmation by the USDA National Veterinary Services Laboratories. Because animal-to-human transmission has not been observed in the current outbreak, testing for SARS-CoV-2 should be limited to animals that meet one or more of the four criteria above. Routine testing without a defined purpose can hamper the national and international response and may cause harm (such as abandonment) to the welfare of pets.

  • There is no specific treatment for animals diagnosed with a SARS-CoV-2 infection so testing will not alter clinical management.
  • Human to animal transmission events are believed to be rare.
  • There is no evidence, or belief by human and animal health officials, that animals play a significant role in infection of people with SARS-CoV-2.
  • Disease prevention measures appropriate for sick animals should be implemented regardless of the decision to test or if the animal is found to be infected. These are routine best practice for animals with a known or suspected infectious disease; owners should be educated to:
    • Follow routine infection control practices (hand hygiene, appropriate waste disposal, etc).
    • Restrict movement of the animal outside the home while it is ill.
    • Minimize contact within the home to the ill animal.

Thank you for taking the time to read this information and please contact us at any time with questions.

Keith Poulsen


Pathologically Speaking! – Check out WVDL’s new Podcast

Looking for something fun to listen to while engaging those neuron synapses of continual learning? Search no further! Add “Pathologically Speaking” to your podcast library to fulfill that appetite to learn more on an array of topics focus on animal health, animal sciences, bio-safety, veterinary schooling, the animal agriculture industry and much more. “Pathologically Speaking” is a podcast created by the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory that dissects the world of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine into small bites that you can digest and listen to. These podcasts will bring you stories and interviews from individuals within the Animal Agriculture Health Industry. What is BVD? How do farmers keep their heads above water in today’s trade? All these questions and more, pathologically speaking that is! So sit back, hit play and enjoy!

Educating Your Equine Clients About Feed Quality

Educating Your Equine Clients About Feed Quality

A Review of Cantharidin Toxicosis

By Lorelei Clarke, DVM, PhD, DACVP, Assistant Clinical Professor of Anatomic Pathology, Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and Ryan Breuer, DVM, Clinical Assistant Professor, Diagnostic Case & Outreach Coordinator, Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory  

During times when horse owners and livestock producers have to turn to stored feed due to lack of available pasture grazing, cold weather or feed shortages, it is a good reminder to discuss the importance of monitoring animals and feedstuffs closely when dietary changes are occurring. In the case of feed shortage scenarios, owners are faced with purchasing feed. Among the many different challenges that feed changes can present, the presence of blister beetles in alfalfa hay can present a serious challenge leading to death when consumed, as seen in a recent 2019 Wisconsin suspect cantharidin toxicosis case.

Blister beetles, genus Epicauta, are widely distributed in the central and eastern United States. When baling dry alfalfa hay, the beetles can become entrapped in hay during the harvesting process. The beetle produces hemolymph with variable amounts of the toxic compound cantharidin. This highly irritating substance causes redness and vesicle formation when in contact with skin or mucous membranes – blisters, hence the beetle’s name. This toxicity can be seen in a wide variety of animals but is most commonly seen in horses.

The onset and duration of clinical signs is variable, but most horses’ exposure to lethal doses of cantharidin succumb within 48 hours of the onset of signs. Unfortunately, there is no antidote for cantharidin toxicity and prognosis is poor to grave. Supportive care with IV fluid therapy to correct electrolyte imbalances, +/- activated charcoal or smectite are recommended, as well as analgesics to mitigate pain. Recent research found that the use of mineral oil is contraindicated as it may increase the rate of absorption.

On necropsy, affected horses may have gastrointestinal hyperemia, erosion, ulceration or possibly full-thickness rupture. Myocardial necrosis is a common finding. Cantharidin can be assayed using high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS) techniques. Feed and stomach contents are the preferred samples for detecting cantharidin, but serum, urine and kidney tissues can also be submitted. If a field necropsy is performed, fixed sections of heart, kidney, liver, lung, stomach and intestine, at a minimum, would be preferred for histopathology. Beetle speciation can be performed by entomologists at the UW-Madison Insect Diagnostic Laboratory.

Virtually all reports of cantharidin toxicosis are in horses being fed dry alfalfa hay or alfalfa products, but anecdotal reports of other species intoxicated can be found. The beetles can be difficult to identify in hay, and suspect hay should be thoroughly evaluated. Large swarms of beetles can be found in relatively small portions of hay as well. Owners can proactively shake out hay prior to feeding as a preventative measure. If beetles are found, which could be a challenge to see in the dark mornings and evenings of winter, hold the hay and discontinue feeding.


Effective immediately, the WVDL will no longer be able to offer rendering as a disposal method for horses, regardless of euthanasia method.

Effective immediately, the WVDL will no longer be able to offer rendering as a disposal method for horses, regardless of euthanasia method. The company with which WVDL contracts for rendering services informed us on August 16, 2019 that they will no longer accept horses or horse parts for rendering, regardless of euthanasia method. We are working on finding alternative and more cost-effective disposal solutions, including cremation, with current and future vendors. Digestion is available as a disposal method for horses submitted to the Madison WVDL location, the cost is $1.50/pound for in-state clients and $2.25/pound for out-of-state clients. For both Madison and Barron locations, utilizing a bottle necropsy for equine diagnostic testing is the most cost effective option. If you plan to submit a full body equine necropsy, please call the WVDL to discuss your disposal options.

First Wisconsin Case of EIA Confirmed in Taylor County Horse

Wisconsin Horse Tests Positive for EIA

Wisconsin’s first cases of EIA in 15 years have been confirmed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). This notice follows the news earlier this month of Wisconsin’s first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). Both DATCP and the UW have issued releases regarding these cases.

  • UW Release: Following news from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Consumer Protection (DATCP) in early August that 2019’s first case of Eastern equine encephalitis was detected in Wisconsin, another horse in Wisconsin was diagnosed with a separate disease called equine infectious anemia. Two different equine diseases detected in Wisconsin in recent weeks … CONTINUE READING
  • DATCP Release: The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) confirms that a horse and a mule on the same premises in Taylor County have tested positive for equine infectious anemia (EIA). These are Wisconsin’s first confirmed cases of EIA in almost 15 years. There is no treatment for EIA, therefore to prevent transmitting it, infected animals are humanely euthanized. “EIA is a devastating disease for horses and their owners … CONTINUE READING

First confirmed case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) for 2019

First confirmed case of  EEE for 2019

The Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed the first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in a horse on July 31, 2019.  The 22-year-old quarter horse mare from Barron County had not been vaccinated against EEE, and was euthanized after showing neurological signs, brain tissue tested positive for EEE. 

Vaccines are available to protect against EEE, but there is no treatment once infection occurs.

The first signs for EEE infection in horse are fever, depression and changes in behavior. Clinical signs may include muscle twitches, circling or head pressing behaviors, seizures, inability to swallow, paralysis and convulsions. Many of these clinical signs are overlapping with West Nile Virus (WNV) or Equine herpesvirus type-1 (EHV-1) infection. EEE is almost always fatal in horses and many die within 48 hours of onset of clinical signs. 

The WVDL offers PCR testing for neurologic agents including EEE, WNV and EHV-1.  Please contact our virology section for more details.  

Additional information on EEE and detection and preventative actions for both horses and people, can be found at the following links:

DATCP press release: https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/News_Media/20190802FirstEEECase.aspx

UW news release: https://news.wisc.edu/equine-encephalitis-detection-highlights-need-to-protect-horses-people/

WVDL Collaboration Leads to Additional Findings on Heidelberg

WVDL Collaborates with Others to Publish ‘Genome Divergence and Increase Virulence of Outbreak Associated Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Heidelberg’ in Gut Pathogens

The WVDL continues to see multi-drug resistant (MDR) Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serotype/serovar Heidelberg infections in dairy beef calves and more recently beef steers and cows. To better understand this Salmonella isolate, the WVDL collaborated with researchers at South Dakota State University (SDSU) and the SDSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Whole genome based single nucleotide polymorphism based analysis of the isolates from the 2015 and 2016 multi-state outbreak of Salmonella ser. Heidelberg which also had human cases confirmed in fifteen different states were analyzed. It is believed the majority of human cases were caused by direct contact with dairy beef calves that were sick with active Salmonella ser. Heidelberg infection. Traditionally, Salmonella ser. Heidelberg was predominately a Salmonella serovar adapted to poultry.  This publication defines the relatedness of the Salmonella ser. Heidelberg strains collected from many different hosts and also examined both virulence and antibiotic resistance genes. The 2015-2016 outbreak isolates did cluster together and were highly related.  As compared to older Salmonella ser. Heidelberg isolates, the outbreak-associated strain had more antibiotic resistance genes and contained Salmonella atypical fimbriae (Saf) genes that were absent in other Salmonella ser. Heidelberg strains, which may have contributed to the increased disease severity of these strains in both humans and calves.

The publication can be found on our website at:
Genome Divergence and Increase Virulence of Outbreak Associated Salmonella enterica subspecies enterica serovar Heidelberg

For more information:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/heidelberg-11-16/index.html

Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP): https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/News_Media/2016.11.29_SalmonellaHeidelberg.aspx.

Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DPH): https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/foodborne/salmonella.htm

Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (WVDL):





The  WVDL Board of Directors approved the following in-state prices on oral fluid samples for porcine tests at its March meeting:



(PRRS Ab ELISA on Oral Fluids)  


SECD PCR Panel: $65

(SECD- Swine Enteric Corona Disease PCR’s consisting of PEDV PCR, TGEV PCR, SDCOV PCR on oral fluids)



(PRRS NA and EU PCR on oral fluids)


Porcine Oral Fluid Panel: $80

(Porcine oral fluid panel = panel that includes all PCR tests in SECD PCR Panel and PRRS PCR Panel)



Important reminders (24-hour turnaround time may be extended if samples require repeat testing):


  • Testing days for PRRS ELISA: Wednesday; 24-hr turnaround time; need samples by noon on Tuesday
  • Testing days for all porcine PCR’s: Tuesday; 24-hr turnaround time; need samples by noon on Monday
  • Please submit a minimum of 5 ml of oral fluids in a 50 ml conical tube



The composite oral fluids sample from the rope should represent the majority of animals in a pen.  See DATCP’s information website at https://www.aasv.org/shap/issues/v22n3/v22n3p138.pdf .


*Keep in mind that the antibody PRRS ELISA test will likely be POSITIVE for vaccinated animals.  It is also possible that oral fluids from pigs feeding on diets supplemented with spray-dried plasma of porcine origin may test POSITIVE on the PRRS ELISA due to the presence of PRRS virus antibodies in the porcine plasma supplement.


Please contact us with any questions you may have.

WVDL Resumes Pathology Services at Barron Laboratory

WVDL’s Barron Laboratory Resumes Pathology Services

Dr. Holly Taylor Hired to Head Necropsy Service


Holly Taylor, DVM, DACVP

Holly Taylor, DVM, DACVP

Pathology Services Available – We are excited to announce that Pathology services have resumed at the WVDL Barron laboratory as of November 7th, 2016.  Please contact the Barron Laboratory with questions and to schedule necropsies. The Barron location does not accept live animals for necropsy.  Click Here for Contact Information

Welcome to Dr. Holly Taylor – WVDL-Barron would like to welcome Dr. Holly Taylor to our team. Dr. Taylor is from rural Pennsylvania, earning her BS in Animal Bioscience from Penn State (2009) and her DVM from the University of Tennessee (2013).  She completed her specialty training in anatomic pathology at the University of Missouri Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Columbia. Dr. Taylor’s specific areas of interest are bovine infectious diseases and poultry pathology.  Dr. Taylor looks forward to heading the necropsy service in Barron and working with our clients to further support animal health in northwestern Wisconsin.