Research & Intervention

Control of Disease Transmission

Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory

Pneumonia strikes dogs in Florida, then spreads to other states. Cattle fall ill with a deadly viral diarrhea. Avian flu extends its sinister reach across the continent.

Thankfully, help is just a phone call away.

Scientists at the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (WADDL) work to monitor and diagnose illnesses in animals, safeguarding the health of livestock, pets, poultry, fish—and ultimately, humans—in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

  • Disease tracking. WADDL tracks the spread of infectious diseases like West Nile virus, avian influenza, and Mad Cow disease, often working in partnership with the Washington State Department of Health. It surveys animal populations for agents that can be transmitted from animals to humans, such as plague and tularemia. It is a central player in the newly established, NIH-funded WSU Zoonosis Research Unit in the investigation of food- and waterborne zoonotic pathogens in Washington state.
  • Laboratory testing. The WADDL laboratory performs microbiologic testing for pathogens and sanitation testing for clients in the food industry. It serves as a reference laboratory in the Laboratory Response Network for Bioterrorism, which is linked to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 1979, the laboratory has been continuously and fully accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians.
  • Surveillance of exotic diseases in livestock. As a founding member of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, WADDL also joins forces with scientists and veterinarians nationwide to monitor exotic disease outbreaks in livestock—and deliver timely, informed responses. It works closely with USDA to develop, validate and implement high-throughput molecular assays for eight different exotic agents, all high-priority agroterrorist pathogens, among them:
    • Foot and Mouth Disease
    • Classical Swine Fever
    • Exotic Newcastle Disease
    • Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza
  • Advice and consultation. WADDL experts advise practicing veterinarians, animal industry groups, state and federal regulatory officials, and physicians.
  • Teaching. Faculty from the diagnostic laboratory play a key role in training graduate and professional (DVM) students in all aspects of animal disease diagnostics, disease investigation, and public health.