Veterinary diagnostics companies play a major role in the health and safety of animals of all sorts, from our friendly household pets to the livestock that feeds millions of people every day. Some labs work on a small scale, helping to identify and diagnose illnesses in pets.
Others track, monitor, and offer guidance on how best to deal with epidemics like rinderpest or even animal-transmitted COVID-19.
For us people, Covid has been a nearly unprecedented disease event, but these kinds of epidemics and pandemics occur in animals all the time.
"According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019, eight major zoonotic breakouts were reported. Every year, thousands of Americans get sick from diseases spread between animals and people. Six out of every ten diseases in humans are zoonotic, making it crucial that nations strengthen their respective capabilities to prevent and respond to these diseases. This intensifies the need for regular monitoring of animal health, especially livestock." – Markets and Markets.
Truthfully, the veterinary diagnostics market is massive and growing every year. There has been a paradigm shift in the last decade, and the tools, techniques, and studies formerly dedicated solely to human medicine are expanding into animal medicine. For example, PCR testing – a primary component of modern human medicine – has become much more prevalent in veterinary medicine.
There are a lot of different veterinary diagnostic companies throughout the world. Some are national or global, headquartered in other countries, such as:
FUJIFILM Holdings Corporations (Japan)
However, North America, in general, and the United States, in particular, is the center of the greatest developments and largest market share in veterinary diagnostics and sciences.
There's an ever-increasing population of pets and companion animals, an increase in food-producing livestock, increased dairy and meat consumption year over year, and more, all contributing to an explosion of veterinary diagnostic companies in the United States.
"Food and animal safety is one of the major concerns that can be made reliable based on the early detection of animal diseases using effective diagnostic tools. The demand for a safe and high quality of animal protein is likely to rise significantly over the coming years due to the concomitant increase in the diet conscious population globally. The continuous rise in the demand for animal protein is likely to contribute remarkable for the growth of animal diagnostics market size." – Fortune Business Insights.
Veterinary diagnostic labs can be broadly divided into two groups: private companies and government-associated facilities. Picking the right lab for any given need can be an important part of diagnostics and treatment for vets of all sorts, so it's a good idea to both have a reference list on hand and establish relationships with the labs best situated to help your practice with your most common needs.
List of NAHLN-Approved Laboratories
To start, let's run down the list of labs approved by the NAHLN. First, though, what is the NAHLN?
The NAHLN stands for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network. It is a cooperative effort between two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), along with the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians. The NAHLN is a group of veterinary laboratories across the United States that are designed to provide comprehensive and coordinated diagnostic testing services for animal diseases.
In other words, it's a list of labs approved by the government to receive funding, provide certified testing, and more.
You can read more information, as well as browse lists by state, on this page. Alternatively, you can browse this list of animal diseases and find labs certified to diagnose, monitor, and treat them or provide recommendations for the mitigation or handling of an epidemic or outbreak.
Here's the list of NAHLN laboratories.
Thompson-Bishop-Sparks State Diagnostic Laboratory in Alabama
Arizona Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Arizona
Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission Laboratory in Arkansas
The University of Arkansas Branch Laboratory in Arkansas
California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory in California
Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Main in Colorado
Colorado State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory – Rocky Ford in Colorado
Connecticut Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in Connecticut
Charles C. Allen Biotechnology Laboratory Branch in Delaware
University of Delaware Lasher Laboratory Main in Delaware
Bronson Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Florida
Athens Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Georgia
Georgia Poultry Laboratory Network in Georgia
University of Georgia Tifton Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Georgia
State Laboratories Division in Hawaii
University of Illinois Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Illinois
Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University in Indiana
Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Iowa
Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Kansas
Breathitt Veterinary Center in Kentucky
University of Kentucky, Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Kentucky
Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Louisiana
Frederick Animal Health Laboratory in Maryland
Maryland Department of Agriculture and Salisbury Animal Health Laboratory in Maryland
Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Michigan
University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Main in Minnesota
Minnesota Poultry Testing Lab Branch in Minnesota
Mississippi Veterinary Research and Diagnostic Laboratory in Mississippi
Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory in Missouri
Missouri Department of Agriculture Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Missouri
Montana Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Montana
University of Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center in Nebraska
New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health, Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory in New Jersey
New Mexico Department of Agriculture Veterinary Diagnostic Services in New Mexico
Animal Health Diagnostic Center in New York
Rollins Diagnostic Laboratory in North Carolina
Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory North Dakota State University in North Dakota
Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Ohio
Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Oklahoma
Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Oregon
Pennsylvania State University Animal Diagnostic Laboratory in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Veterinary Laboratory in Pennsylvania
University of Pennsylvania School of Vet Med in Pennsylvania
Clemson Veterinary Diagnostic Center in South Carolina
Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory in South Dakota
Kord Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Tennessee
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory – Canyon in Texas
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory – Center in Texas
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory Main in Texas
Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory – Gonzales Branch in Texas
Utah Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Utah
VDACS Harrisonburg Regional Animal Health Laboratory in Virginia
Virginia Tech Animal Laboratory Services in Virginia
Lynchburg Regional Animal Health Laboratory Branch in Virginia
Wytheville Regional Animal Health Laboratory Branch in Virginia
Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Washington
WADDL Puyallup in Washington
West Virginia Department of Agriculture Animal Health Division Moorefield Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory in West Virginia
USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory University of Wisconsin Madison in Wisconsin
Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory in Wyoming
Wyoming Game and Fish Wildlife Health Laboratory in Wyoming
The National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) is vital for veterinarians. It aids in monitoring and addressing animal health crises, such as major disease outbreaks, through swift detection and response. NAHLN labs provide essential diagnostic services and develop innovative testing strategies. They also offer training, ensuring veterinary professionals are current with the latest techniques. Fundamentally, NAHLN safeguards the health of the nation's livestock, thus protecting our food supply and public health while bolstering veterinarians' ability to ensure animal welfare.
As you can see, there are quite a few of these labs on their site. However, this only scratches the surface. Many of these aren't private companies and those that tend to be affiliated with health networks. Private companies form a much longer and more varied list.
Private Companies in the United States Providing Veterinary Diagnostic Services
Depending on where you look, you can find widely varied lists of veterinary service companies, many of which provide diagnostic services. These can range from extremely narrow specialties, like Vidium providing diagnostic services specifically for canine cancers, all the way to global companies providing medical technology, veterinary services, comprehensive laboratory work, research and development, and much more.
It's not surprising.
Recent estimates place the veterinary diagnostic industry as a $2.8 billion dollar industry and growing, with predictions of growth to $4.4 billion by 2027. It's no wonder that everyone from major pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to the latest starry-eyed Silicon Valley startups is looking into the space.
It would be virtually impossible to list every company operating in the veterinary diagnostic services industry. There are two reasons for that. The first is that there are tons of them. Lusha, a business analytics and B2B contacts company has a database listing over 1,200 of them.
Secondly, they are changing rapidly.
New companies enter the market, old companies fold, some are bought and merged, others are renamed, and the entire space is constantly in flux. Any list we publish would need to be updated almost immediately shortly after we publish it.
That said, we can still talk about some of the major players in veterinary laboratory services. The most prominent companies in the United States are:
A larger selection of other companies providing some manner of services in veterinary diagnostics include:
Many of these are developers of specific technologies or processes that they then license out to other diagnostics companies for use in both human and animal diagnostics and medical services. LightDeck, for example, makes a machine used in diagnostics and develops a series of protocols to test for various issues in both humans and animals.
Is It Important to Know Your Labs?
If you're a pet owner, the chances that you'll deal with a veterinary diagnostics lab directly are slim. Many of these laboratories only deal with animal healthcare systems or veterinary service providers directly and don't burden themselves with customer service directly relating to pet owners. Many more don't even do that; they're vendors for equipment or consumables and work with other diagnostics labs.
As a veterinary services provider, is it important for you to know this list of labs and which is right for each of your clients? Not entirely.
Veterinary services have a lot on their plate. As a frontline service, you interface between a variety of different veterinary healthcare providers and pet owners. Your job isn't necessarily to know how to identify every issue, solve every problem, and operate every mechanism to perform every test. You need to know enough to diagnose common issues, and you can specialize in more niche issues, but you'll never know everything. No one can.
Instead, your role is to know who to talk to when an issue comes up. Which company provides testing and diagnostics for a given issue? Who do you send a test to, how much will it cost your client, and is it a valuable test to have performed? You're a filter as much as you are a doctor.
To that end, it's worth knowing some labs, but you'll only need to know some of them.
Generally, you want to know the kinds of common issues you might encounter (like pet cancers, dermatology problems, or local illnesses going around) and identify labs that can help diagnose, monitor, and treat those specific issues.
Our recommendation is to look for labs relatively local to you and a few of the more "prestige" labs that provide top-of-the-line services. That way, you can offer connections to the best quality care possible, and to affordable care, without jeopardizing the services you provide.
Similarly, reviewing the labs you talk to every couple of years can be a good way to keep on top of the industry and refresh your knowledge and contacts.
At Hope Vet, we're your helpline. As a vet, it isn't your job to know everything; you just need to know who to call.
That's where we come in. For tricky cases in, for example, canine cancers, we have connections to a variety of diagnostic services and labs, as well as experts on hand who can offer advice, opinions, and next steps to take.
Oncology isn't the only thing we specialize in, either. At Hope Vet, we provide consulting services for oncology, neurology, complex internal medicine cases, emergency and critical care, and dermatology. Whatever needs you and your patients have, we can help you provide the best possible care.