Full Site | Mobile Site
Special Testing Programs

Classical Swine Fever

Classical Swine Fever (CSF) is a highly contagious viral disease that affects swine. Once called hog cholera, CSF has been eradicated from many developed nations and is considered a foreign animal disease in the US. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in cooperation with the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) oversees and implements the National Classical Swine Fever Surveillance Program. This program is designed to rapidly detect the introduction of CSF virus into US swine.

New Jersey is classified by federal government as one of the high risk states for introduction of this foreign animal disease into the USA. Therefore, the NJ Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory participates in the National Classical Swine fever Surveillance Program. Discounted necropsy service is available for submitters who consent to participate in the program. Please contact the laboratory for more information on submission of pigs for necropsy.

If an individual or a herd develop signs consistent with classical swine fever, as determined by a veterinarian, samples of tonsils (post mortem) or whole blood (ante mortem) can be submitted sto the lab for evaluation by PCR test at no cost to the submitter.  Animals with lesions compatible with classical swine fever at necropsy, as determined by a veterinary pathologist, will also be tested.  Post mortem lesions include, but are not limited to, splenic infarcts, hemorrhages in the kidney, bladder, lymph nodes, larynx and other lesions typically associated with septicemia. 

Please refer to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) web page for more information http://www.aasp.org/aasv/documents/GotTonsil.pdf.

If this disease is suspected in a herd, please contact one of the regulatory veterinarians at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health at (609) 671-6400.

Contagious Equine Metritis

Contagious equine metritis (CEM) is a highly contagious, sexually transmitted disease of equids caused by the Gram negative bacteria, Taylorella equigenitalis.  This disease is still considered exotic in the United States, though sporadic outbreaks have occurred since 2008.  The bacterium causes short-term infertility in mares, which combined with a relatively short and specific equine breeding season, could have catastrophic effects on the US horse industry.   The disease is transmitted by venereal contact, artificial insemination, fomites and transplacentally from dam to fetus.  Though most mares and all stallions are clinically silent, some animals can be chronic carriers and continually shed the bacteria.  Clinical signs develop in the mare 2-13 days post breeding and are typically characterized by a thin, grayish-white vaginal discharge with no signs of systemic illness.  In asymptomatic mares, there is a shortened diestrous period followed by return to estrus.

The NJ AHDL offers CEM laboratory testing in support of equine breeding programs and in support of Division of Animal Health's quarantine program of imported equine. Swabs from the genitalia must be submitted in Amies transport media with charcoal and must arrive at the lab within 48 hours on ice. The genitalia should not be disinfected or flushed prior to sample collection.

If you are importing horses and need information on CEM testing regulations or a clinical case is suspected, please contact a regulatory veterinarian at the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health at (609) 671-6400.

Since contagious equine metritis was introduced into the United States in 2008, epidemiological investigation methods, surveillance efforts and testing regulations have been constantly evolving.  The most up-to-date information on the federal regulations on CEM testing is available here: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/hot_issues/cem/index.shtml

Equine Encephalitides

Eastern equine encephalitis virus (EEEV) and West Nile virus (WNV) are arboviruses transmitted by mosquitos.  Both viruses have a broad host range, including animals and humans, and both are endemic in New Jersey.  Horses and birds are the two animal species most affected.  In horses, positive results have been shown to correlate with and predict human cases for a given region.  Due to these epidemiologic associations, equine EEEV and WNV tests carried out by the NJ AHDL provide evidence of the presence of these mosquito-borne human pathogens and help to direct mosquito control efforts in New Jersey.

The NJ AHDL offers three types of tests for both EEEV and WNV in horses: ELISA, HI (hemagglutination inhibition) and PCR.  For horses in New Jersey showing neurologic signs consistent with either or both EEEV or WNV, as determined by the submitting veterinarian or NJ AHDL pathologist, EEEV and WNV testing will be performed by NJ AHDL at a reduced cost to the submitter.  A complete Neurologic Case Worksheet Neurologic Disease Worksheet, in addition to the General Submission Form General Submission Form, must accompany all such submissions of suspect EEEV or WNV in horses.

For details regarding specimen types and submission guidelines for each test, please see the NJ AHDL Tests Offered or contact the laboratory at (609) 406-6999.

Fish Health Inspections

The Legislature finds and declares that aquaculture is the fastest growing industry in agriculture.  The NJ AHDL staff is highly trained in both the surveillance and diagnosis of aquatic animal diseases including ornamental/pet/hobby fish kept in aquariums and ponds such as goldfish, Koi and others.

Interstate, international and even intrastate movement of aquatic animals and their products (such as eggs) often requires fish health certificates and/or fish health inspections as dictated by the receiving individual or governing state, province or country.  Fish health inspections are performed at the NJ AHDL (please contact the laboratory at (609)406-6999 or jerseyvetlab@ag.state.nj.us for more information). 

A fish health inspection is a diagnostic procedure whereby a subsample of fish from a closed population are examined for the presence of specific pathogens as required by the receiving party (i.e. the importing governmental agency having jurisdiction over fish health).   Fish health inspections are intended to reduce the likelihood of disease transfer between fish populations and to prevent the introduction of a serious disease into a population of naïve fish.  These inspections are conducted with rigorous adherence to diagnostic testing methods outlined by World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) or the American Fisheries Society, as importation codes dictate. 

In aquaculture and wild fish, typically required number of individual fish are euthanized and examined for the following pathogens: Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus, Infectious Hematopoietic  Necrosis Virus, Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis Virus, Spring Viremia of Carp Virus, Koi Herpes Virus (Koi or common carp only), Renibacterium salmoninarum (etiologic agent of bacterial kidney disease), Yersinia ruckeri (etiologic agent of enteric redmouth), Aeromonas salmonicida (etiologic agent of furunculosis), Myxobolus cerebralis (parasite that causes whirling disease) and Ceratomyxa shasta.  For a more comprehensive list, please consult the receiving governmental agency with jurisdiction over fish health.  For interstate movement of aquatic animals, state regulations can be found on the USDA/APHIS website http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_dis_spec/aquaculture/aquastates.shtml

In some cases, fish health inspections are conducted on sick fish with the goal of diagnosing a specific pathogen.  In these cases, it is ideal to submit a minimum of five clinically affected but untreated fish for necropsy evaluation by laboratory's veterinary pathology staff, who has specialized training in aquatic animal diseases. 

For either type of fish health inspection, live or freshly dead fish should be submitted on ice in a leak proof cooler and be received by the lab for processing within 24 hours.  Live fish are ideal specimens for this type of examination.

More information about fish health inspections can be found on the Northeastern Regional Aquaculture Center's Fish Health Inspection fact sheet http://nrac.umd.edu/files/Factsheets/106-Fish%20health.pdf.

Swine Health Services

New Jersey is home to garbage feeders and a number of backyard swine operations including potbellied pigs. The Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory provides diagnostic testing services to protect small and large swine operations from the infectious disease spreads and/or adverse effects of diseases. The laboratory offers pathology services, which include gross necropsy and histology services at deeply subsidized price. Depending on the disease condition your swine is facing, some of the testing may be provided at no cost to you. Testing for specific respiratory, enteric or other swine pathogens is also available. Additional testing provided include cytology and parasitology examinations. Please contact the laboratory for more information on submission of swine for necropsy.

Swine Influenza Surveillance

In North America influenza A virus (IAV) has been the dominant virus circulating in swine populations for nearly a century.  A number of subtypes of IAV cause respiratory disease in swine. Evidence shows that SIV virus strains have recombined from genetic material of viruses originating in swine, humans, and avian. Influenza like illness (ILI) in most species including swine is characterized as sneezing, coughing, inappetence, nasal discharge, fever and/or lethargy.  The vast majority (up to 80%) of swine infected with IAV, however, are subclinical carriers and show no symptoms. 

In order to improve swine health and productivity, it is essential that scientists understand viral strains circulating in swine. Such understanding will help improve vaccines and diagnostics. Therefore, the United States Department of Agriculture has implemented a voluntary surveillance program. The NJ AHDL participates in the surveillance program by providing USDA funded PCR testing to detect swine influenza. 

If influenza virus is suspected in a pig herd or in pets showing clinical signs compatible with ILI, swabs from the nasopharynx or sections of lung can be submitted to the NJ AHDL for PCR testing.  Swabs should be submitted in brain heart infusion media or viral transport media. 

More information on the surveillance program can be found on the USDA website: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/animal_dis_spec/swine/siv_surveillance.shtml