Since its creation in 1974, the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory's (WADDL) primary objective has been to serve the state of Washington. The laboratory is an integral part of a network of tax-supported state diagnostic reference facilities throughout the U.S. dedicated to the betterment of animal and human health. WADDL has a responsibility to provide appropriate, timely results to safeguard the health of livestock, pets, poultry, and fish in the Pacific Northwest and to protect the public from zoonotic diseases. Advice and consultation are provided to practicing veterinarians, animal industry groups, state and federal regulatory officials, and physicians.
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2017 Annual Report
Full Service Laboratory
In 1979, WADDL was the first laboratory in the western United States to achieve accredited full service laboratory status under the auspices of the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. The laboratory has been re-accredited continuously since.
WADDL includes a main laboratory located on the Pullman campus, and the Avian Health Laboratory located on the campus of the Western Washington Regional Extension Center in Puyallup, Washington. WADDL provides essential laboratory services in bacteriology, parasitology, pathology, serology, toxicology (through the Analytical Sciences Laboratory, University of Idaho), and virology. The laboratory responds to requests from all 39 counties in Washington, most counties in Idaho and, to a lesser degree, all Pacific Northwest States as well as Alaska and Hawaii. Annual requests for all laboratory services total over 13,600 accessions, resulting in 179,000 laboratory examinations. In addition to providing service to the private sector, the laboratory services the WSU veterinary teaching hospital, university herds and flocks, WSU laboratory animal programs, and the Field Disease Investigation Unit (FDIU) . WADDL also provides centralized service for the college by providing histology support.
National Animal Health Laboratory Network
The Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory is a founding member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. Implemented in 2003, this network of 12 regional laboratories is responsible for surveillance of and response to exotic disease outbreaks affecting livestock. As a part of the network, the WADDL works closely with USDA in developing, validating and implementing high throughput molecular assays for eight different exotic agents, all of which are considered high priority agroterrorist pathogens, including Foot and Mouth Disease, Classical Swine Fever, Exotic Newcastle Disease, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza and others.
Although WADDL does not have instructional department status, its faculty provide instruction in the DVM and graduate programs. Senior students in the professional curriculum receive valuable experience in all aspects of animal disease diagnostics, disease investigation, and public health during a month-long elective rotation in the diagnostic laboratory.
Graduate education is an integral part of WADDL faculty's academic responsibilities. The dual training program in anatomic pathology and research offered jointly by WADDL and the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology has long had a leadership role in the training of modern biomedical scientists and board certified veterinary pathologists. A similar training program in veterinary microbiology was initiated in 1991 and is the only one of its kind in the United States.
Public Health and Zoonotic Diseases
In addition to diagnosis of zoonotic infectious diseases, which has traditionally been a part of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory’s service, recently the laboratory has undertaken additional public health service roles including microbiologic testing for pathogens and for sanitation for food industry clients (done predominantly at the Puyallup Avian Health and Food Safety Laboratory) and West Nile Virus surveillance in partnership with the Washington State Department of Health. In 2004, WADDL began collaboration with the Washington Department of Health in surveying animal populations for zoonotic agents such as plague and tularemia that may be endemically present in the state. In addition, WADDL will be a central participant in the newly established, NIH-funded WSU Zoonosis Research Unit in the investigation of food- and waterborne zoonotic pathogens in Washington state.