University Animal Care

Compassion for Animals, Hope for People

Diagnostic Pathology

UAC Pathology Services provides diagnostic pathology support to investigate unexpected morbidity or mortality in research animals housed on campus. In addition, abnormal research data in well-characterized models (particularly in control groups) may be an indication of infectious disease and may also warrant diagnostic evaluation. This service is provided free of charge as it is considered part of the health monitoring program for the animal facilities. This enables quick detection and response to infectious disease epizootics that potentially can occur within the facilities, and ultimately prevents disease transmission to uninfected animals. The cost savings associated with quick detection and containment of infectious disease are of obvious benefit to both investigators and UAC.

The laboratory can provide all necessary diagnostic evaluations to accurately identify infectious etiologies. Gross necropsy, histopathology, bacterial culture, parasite identification, serology, virology, and PCR assays are most commonly used. The vast majority of diagnostic cases submitted, however, indicate non-infectious etiologies as the underlying cause of the morbidity/mortality observed. Age-related diseases common to the animal species or strain being utilized are frequently detected (neoplasia and degenerative lesions). Problems with the experimental manipulation being performed are also frequently encountered. Improper gastric gavage technique with esophageal and great vessel rupture, chemical or bacterial peritonitis secondary to intraperitoneal injections, and inadvertent injection of tumor cells into the peritoneal cavity instead of the mammary fat pad are recent examples. Once identified, techniques and experimental approaches can be modified and improved to increase research productivity.

If you encounter unanticipated morbid (alive but ill) research animals in your colony, complete an animal examination request form or, in the case of severe or widespread illness, please contact a UAC veterinarian.