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What's New at the AHL

decorative star with link to Disease Surveillance Plan information

Jan 21, 2015

How do you measure infection in your practice?  How do you determine if antibiotics should be implemented, or stopped?  Serum amyloid A can be an effective tool to help answer the infection/inflammation question in horses.  This year at the annual American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, a number of presentations focused on the use of this inflammatory marker in equine medicine. Drs. Brent Hoff and Kris Ruotsalo, AHL clinical pathologists, and Helen Kocmarek, Clinical Pathology Technical Supervisor, developed and validated the test for horses under AHSI funding.  Since 2010, biochemical profiles at the Animal Health Lab have included serum amyloid A.  We know you're busy, so here's a compilation of succinct information about how to use and interpret SAA in practice.  

Video shot at the 2014 AAEP conference (audio only can be listened to safely via bluetooth if driving).  This video showcases prominent US veterinarians discussing how they use SAA in their practice.  Discussion is lead by Dr. Nathan Slovis of Hagyard Equine Medical Centre.

Paper outlining use of serum amyloid A in practice

AHL newsletter providing information about SAA in the AHL Newsletter 2010

Article in "the Horse" speaking to SAA testing for your clients


Summary of Dr. Hoff's initial work on SAA


Jan 19, 2015

Practice submission tip: Remember that formalin freezes in the cold weather too!  Fixed tissues that have been frozen in formalin have significant artifact, decreasing diagnostic potential.  To prevent freezing when submitting samples to the lab, or carrying formalin jars in ambulatory vehicles, add 1 ml isopropyl alcohol (or any other alcohol on hand) for every 10 ml of formalin.   Whole blood and EDTA blood will also freeze, rendering samples unusable. Send only serum, and/or insulate EDTA tubes to protect from freezing.

Dec 16, 2014

Please see the AHL Christmas Hours for 2014 


Dec 15, 2014

The Ontario Animal Health Network now has a Twitter and Facebook page!  As veterinarians ourselves, we know how busy you are, and that it can be a challenge to stay up to date on animal health news, and find content for your Facebook page.  The OAHN pages are designed so you or your clinic staff can easily reshare content to your website, Facebook or Twitter accounts.  Up to date content on our site that you can share easily ensures that you are always on the cutting edge of animal health information for your clients!  News items will be feature multiple species and topics.  We would welcome your feedback!


Dec 4, 2014

Check out the new "OAHN Rabies podcast: What every veterinarian should know about rabies in Ontario".  There are two podcasts: one for small animal vets and one for all species.  This podcast is for veterinarians and their staff  in Ontario.  In this podcast Dr. Maureen Anderson, DACVIM, and the lead veterinarian for rabies at OMAFRA is interviewed.  We tell you what every vet should know about the new regulations and testing in Ontario, and offer a refresher on rabies as a disease.


Nov 25, 2014

AHL Specimen Reception is undergoing a re-design for 2014/15.  During construction please deliver specimens to the shipping/receiving area. Click here for more details including a map and photos.

Nov 5, 2014

Up to date Ebola virus information for veterinarians and their clients.

Many veterinarians have been asked about Ebola virus and how it may affect the general public and the pet population, following recent headlines.  We know all veterinarians strive to provide current, factually correct information about relevant topics.  The following compilation of links contain up to date information about Ebola virus and animals.  Feel free to repost or share on your clinic Facebook page, Twitter or newsletter.  

Canadian information: 

Dr. Scott Weese's blog post about Ebola and pets (Worms and Germs link)

Healthy Canadians - Government of Canada update

US information:
American Veterinary Medical Association official statement and fact page about Ebola: (AVMA link)
Center for Disease Control information about Ebola, and their webpage dedicated to Ebola and pets.

Oct 20, 2014

We have updated submission forms!!  
Using these updated forms streamlines specimen reception data entry - please remove all old forms from circulation. 
They are available on our website or email, to have customized submission forms sent to your facility.

Oct 9, 2014

As part of the OABP (Ontario Association of Bovine Practitioners) annual fall meeting, the Animal Health Lab is pleased to be hosting Ontario large animal technicians on November 20th, 2014.  AHL pathologists will be leading technicians  in a wetlab, teaching about performing field postmortems on ruminants, and lab diagnostics.  The OABP technician program is part of the OABP fall conference for veterinarians and technicians and features excellent speakers from across North America , including Dr. Eugene Janzen, clinician from the University of Calgary, Dr. Jim Reynolds of UC Davis, Dr. Bert VanNejenhuis, from the Netherlands, among others.  The technician program is in its second year, following a very well attended inaugural program in 2013.  AHL is proud to be a part of this excellent learning opportunity for technicians across Ontario.  See full program here.

Sept 25, 2014

Check out the Ontario Animal Health Network (OAHN) podcasts. Topics include neonatal piglet diarrhea, equine colitis and Johne's testing in small ruminants. They are designed to be quick and practical information for veterinarians in the field.  The episodes online currently feature some well-known OVC, OMAFRA and AHL colleagues- Murray Hazlett, Memo Arroyo, Cathy Bauman, Josepha DeLay, Bob Friendship and Alison Moore.  We would welcome your comments!  


Sept 25, 2014

The Disease Surveillance Plan - Staying ahead of the curve: 2nd annual stakeholder meeting for the Ontario Animal Health Network took place on September 10, 2014 in the Arboretum Centre, at the University of Guelph. For details on the agenda, attendees, and reports please visit the OMAFRA - U of G Partnership website.

August 25, 2014

Our September 2014 newsletter is now available online. Please find it in our Publications section.

Aug 8, 2014

AHL now offers a "specimen receipt confirmation" email or fax. When your submission is initially entered into our LIM system, it generates an automatic response that is emailed and/or faxed to you indicating the data and testing that has been entered on the case as well as the expected turnaround time. Please email us at if you would like this feature activated. Once activated, if you should happen to have questions or concerns about data entry or there are changes needed - please email with the case number and concern and we will investigate.

July 2, 2014

Dr. Melanie Barham, OVC 2007, joined the AHL today as our Animal Health Network Coordinator, under DSP, the Disease Surveillance Plan. Melanie will be our key contact as we organize our various species expert networks for Ontario.  Contact email

Animal Health Laboratory | Laboratory Services | University of Guelph
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