Volume V8 | August 2022

Laboratory Diagnosticians' News Matters
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AAVLD President - Elect

and 2022 Program Chair  

Eric R. Burrough, DVM, PhD, DACVP

Annual Meeting Update –

Plan to be in Minneapolis October 6-10, 2022

The annual meeting is just 8 weeks away and I would like to thank all those who contributed abstracts for presentation. We had a record number of accepted abstracts this year (214 total) and this promises to be an exciting slate of platform talks and one of the largest poster sessions ever. This will be the third year that all presentations (on-site or virtual only presentations) will be available “on demand” as recorded talks in each subject area. Recorded talks are available for viewing to all registrants (in-person or virtual registrants) from October 1st to December 1st; and then will be placed in our AAVLD CE library available to all members. Do you see a presentation that peaks your interest? Then view it ahead of time and come prepared with good questions to the live presentation. Or email the presenter to start a scientific dialogue. In addition to our 11 scientific sessions, there are also focused symposia on quality assurance, bacteriology, pathology, and toxicology.


This year the plenary session will focus on technological advances in veterinary diagnostics with 4 subject matter experts from the fields of histopathology, bacteriology, toxicology, and viral sequencing. We also have an exciting joint keynote with the USAHA featuring Peter Zeihan, a geopolitical strategist who will share his insights on how current international affairs may impact the livestock industries that many of our laboratories serve. 


Registration for the meeting is now open and we encourage all members and non-members to consider attending either in person or virtually. This year, technical staff at AAVLD accredited laboratories can attend the meeting virtually for the member price even if they are not already a member. The table below lists the various registration options available:




Full Registration



One- Day






Life Members



*Virtual Only/Observer

$250 for AAVLD members or any Technical Staff of AAVLD labs


We would also ask VDL directors to help facilitate and encourage attendance from all of their laboratory sections for the valuable educational and networking opportunities that the annual meeting provides. There is no better place to meet and interact with colleagues from peer institutions.


Looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible in Minneapolis this October!


Eric R. Burrough, DVM, PhD, DACVP

AAVLD President-Elect and 2022 Program Chair

AAVLD DEI Committee Launches Diversity Survey of our Members

Your Survey Response is Requested

Amy Catherine Barr, PhD

Amar Patil, BVSc, MVSc, PhD

The AAVLD Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) would like to launch initiatives aimed at engaging members in DEI efforts. However, the DEI Committee has run into a stumbling block, and we need your help with it. AAVLD has never collected any demographics on its members, so we have no basis for evaluating how diverse our membership is and which initiatives are appropriate!, AAVLD will provide the opportunity for each member to supply background information in survey format. All data will be anonymized and aggregated, then reported in the newsletter and available on our website. The survey window will be approximately one month.

In the future, the option to supply demographic data will be offered to new members. We recognize that in many ways our membership has been dictated by educational opportunities in our pasts, and we can’t go back and change those.

What we CAN attempt to influence is our members’ perceptions about their interactions with AAVLD as an organization and about members’ experiences with others in AAVLD settings. The DEI Committee will ask questions about these aspects periodically and see how our interactions and experiences change over the years. Again, data will be anonymized and aggregated then used to evaluate how welcoming our organization is to all those who share our common mission with results published in our newsletter and on our website.

To maximize exposure and participation, there will be multiple access points to the survey link: on the AAVLD website (after you have logged in), in this AAVLD newsletter, an email to all members, and on the Membership Renewal page. Please complete the survey only once.

Please, take this opportunity to complete the survey and help us get a better idea of who AAVLD is. Represent!



Cat Barr

Amar Patil

AAVLD DEI Committee Cochairs

AAVLD Labs in the News

Leadership Changes at the University of MN VDL

The Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of MN recently posted this announcement:


Dear VDL Clients and Stakeholders,


I am writing to inform you that Dr. Jerry Torrison will be leaving the CVM for a new opportunity, effective August 22, 2022. Dr. Torrison will be joining Longhorn Vaccines and Diagnostics, LLC as their Senior VP of Animal Health. Please join me in thanking Jerry for his leadership and many contributions to the College and in protecting animal and human health and the agricultural economy. I am grateful for Dr. Torrison’s leadership of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, and believe the department is positioned well for the future. I appreciate that he will be available through the transition.


I am happy to announce that Dr. Albert Rovira has accepted my offer to serve as interim Director of the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, effective August 22, 2022. Dr. Rovira received very strong support through the internal nomination process and is well positioned to take on this new challenge because he has served as the Assistant Director since 2019. He has been on our faculty since 2008 when he joined as a food animal diagnostician. Albert graduated with his veterinary degree at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (Spain) in 2000. In 2002, he completed a MS in swine pathology at the same institution. In 2003 he moved to the U.S. to pursue his PhD on swine disease diagnostics, which he completed at the University of Minnesota in 2007.


In his role as Assistant Director, Dr. Rovira has been able to secure additional funds for the VDL from USDA and FDA through competitive grants. These projects are enhancing the ability of the VDL to respond to foreign animal diseases in food animals. In addition to his service and leadership responsibilities, Dr. Rovira collaborates in research projects on swine infectious disease with other faculty at the University of Minnesota. He has co-authored 52 peer-reviewed articles and 119 abstracts in professional meetings and has delivered 51 invited presentations. 


Please join me in welcoming Dr. Rovira into this important role. I will be launching a national search for the Director role in the coming months.  



Dr. Laura Molgaard



Editor's Note: AAVLD wishes Dr. Torrison the best in his new ventures and looks forward to working with Dr. Albert Rovira as the Interim VDL Director.  

Dr. Angela Pillatzki Becomes VBS Department Head and ADRDL Director

Board-certified pathologist and Associate Professor Angela Pillatzki has been named Department Head of SDSU's Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences (VBS) Department and Director of the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory (ADRDL). 

Dr. Pillatzki graduated in 1995 from Kansas State University's College of Veterinary Medicine, after which she practiced in Rapid City and in central Minnesota. She joined SDSU's ADRDL in 2000 as a post-doctoral pathology fellow, serving as a diagnostic pathologist until 2008, when she joined the staff at Iowa State University. Dr. Pillatzki returned to the ADRDL, where she has served as a pathologist and faculty member since 2014.

   "I am excited to lead both the VBS Department and the ADRDL. The faculty, staff, and students are so dedicated to service and excellence, which are fundamental to the mission of the department and laboratory. I look forward to working with stakeholders to identify opportunities for growth and advancement to better serve their needs into the future." 

   Dr. Pillatzki, who had been serving as interim head and director since February, succeeds Dr. Jane Christopher-Hennings, who retired in January.

Source: SDSU ADRDL Animal Health Matters

Zoonotic Hot Topics

Check out these links to hot zoonotic topics:

Submitted by Dr. Mike Murphy, AVMA

IABS to host workshop on overcoming barriers to avian influenza vaccination 

(Geneva, August 15, 2022)— High pathogenicity avian influenza outbreaks around the world are currently causing extensive problems in poultry production and wild birds. Recent outbreaks are among the largest ever experienced in Europe and in North America. More than 157 million birds have died or been destroyed because of these outbreaks, an unacceptably high loss, leading producers, and veterinary authorities in affected countries to explore alternative methods of prevention, in particular, vaccination. In addition, the latest strain has caused extensive problems in poultry and wild birds across the northern hemisphere including Central Asia, Middle East and West Africa. The International Alliance for Biological Standards (IABS) will host a workshop on barriers to usage of vaccination for prevention and control of HPAI in Paris, France, October 25-26.

“The interest in vaccination against high pathogenicity avian influenza is currently very high. As a result, we have now reached capacity for in-person attendance at the meeting and have decided to provide online access to those who aren’t able to attend in person,” said Dr. Rick Hill, president of IABS.

 The current global outbreak has caused normal management practices allowing free ranging of birds to be suspended and has also caused a severe disruption of supply chains because of the disease and the associated control measures.  These outbreaks have occurred because migratory aquatic birds have become vectors for transmission of HPAI virus. Better ways are needed to prevent the virus from spilling over to poultry and spreading from farm to farm once outbreaks occur. Vaccination is one method available, but there are challenges involved. The IABS workshop will explore these challenges and   ways to address them”.

Until now, vaccination has been used only sparingly to prevent HPAI in Europe and has not been applied at all in North America. Prevention of HPAI has depended on biosecurity measures, but even some farms that enhanced their biosecurity have still been affected. In other words, alternative measures to boost protection in poultry provided by biosecurity are needed. Well-managed vaccination can do this by increasing resistance to infection, preventing clinical disease and can even stop transmission in an infected flock.

“One of the biggest issues is that there are many barriers to usage of vaccine. Many of these are unnecessary and most can be overcome,” said Dr. David Swayne, Avian influenza specialist and head of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the meeting. “For example, a recent article described avian influenza vaccination as “taboo” but that is only because of misconceptions about vaccination. Preventive vaccination does not change avian influenza status of a country under the World Organisation for Animal Health rules provided an appropriate surveillance programme is in place to detect infection. One element that has been missing is agreement on what constitutes an appropriate surveillance programme that is also cost effective for producers. This is one of the areas that will be discussed in detail in the meeting including consideration of novel methods for surveillance.”

Other meeting topics include an examination and discussion of all the barriers to vaccination, ways to overcome them, and how to help design appropriate vaccination programmes. There will also be two panel sessions in which options for vaccination programmes for preventive and emergency vaccination will be presented. These options will then be discussed by all in-person participants in working groups in order to gather a range of views on ways to deploy vaccines effectively. Remote attendees will be able to provide comments online.

“We are already seeing moves in the European Union for uptake of vaccination and this meeting will provide more information on ways that this might be applied,” Dr. Hill said. “This meeting represents an ideal and timely opportunity for anyone with an interest in vaccination against high pathogenicity avian influenza to understand and have an influence on future vaccination strategies against this devastating disease.”

According to Dr. Les Sims, a member of the scientific committee, vaccination has been used successfully in Hong Kong SAR as a preventive measure against HPAI.

“In the early 2000s it was evident that biosecurity measures alone could not prevent all incursions of high pathogenicity virus into markets and farms in Hong Kong SAR. As a result, vaccination was added as an additional preventive measure,” Dr. Sims said. “Because of the zero tolerance for infection, vaccination was accompanied by a surveillance programme designed to detect infection in vaccinated flocks. Hong Kong SAR now has 20 years of experience to draw on that will be of value for other countries and regions considering how best to use vaccination against this disease.” 

Dr. Sims also pointed out that there are also other countries where viruses are endemic and vaccination has been used successfully to reduce zoonotic spillover of virus, specifically concerning H5N1 in Vietnam and H7N9 viruses in China.

“The difference between places where virus remains endemic in poultry and the preventive vaccination in Hong Kong SAR, and any potential future programmes in Europe and North America is that these latter places will retain a zero-tolerance approach to transmission in poultry,” he said. 

In summing up the expected benefits of this upcoming meeting Dr. Swayne said. “There is little doubt that we will see greater usage of vaccination against HPAI in the future. This meeting will provide a road map on how best to overcome the barriers currently in place.

None of us want a repeat of events of the past few years and that is the driver for this very important meeting.”

For more information about this meeting please visit the meeting website at https://hpai-paris-2022.iabs.org/

JVDI in Focus

Our August focus is an article in JVDI’s July issue,

Use of machine-learning algorithms to aid in the early detection of leptospirosis in dogs

by Krystle L. Reagan, Shaofeng Deng, Junda Sheng, Jamie Sebastian, Zhe Wang, Sara N. Huebner, Louise A. Wenke, Sarah R. Michalak, Thomas Strohmer, Jane E. Sykes.


J Vet Diagn Invest 2022;34(4). https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/10406387221096781


Abstract. Leptospirosis is a life-threatening, zoonotic disease with various clinical presentations, including renal injury, hepatic injury, pancreatitis, and pulmonary hemorrhage. With prompt recognition of the disease and treatment, 90% of infected dogs have a positive outcome. Therefore, rapid, early diagnosis of leptospirosis is crucial. Testing for Leptospira-specific serum antibodies using the microscopic agglutination test (MAT) lacks sensitivity early in the disease process, and diagnosis can take >2 wk because of the need to demonstrate a rise in titer. We applied machine-learning algorithms to clinical variables from the first day of hospitalization to create machine-learning prediction models (MLMs). The models incorporated patient signalment, clinicopathologic data (CBC, serum chemistry profile, and urinalysis = blood work [BW] model), with or without a MAT titer obtained at patient intake (=BW + MAT model). The models were trained with data from 91 dogs with confirmed leptospirosis and 322 dogs without leptospirosis. Once trained, the models were tested with a cohort of dogs not included in the model training (9 leptospirosis-positive and 44 leptospirosis-negative dogs), and performance was assessed. Both models predicted leptospirosis in the test set with 100% sensitivity (95% CI: 70.1–100%). Specificity was 90.9% (95% CI: 78.8–96.4%) and 93.2% (95% CI: 81.8–97.7%) for the BW and BW + MAT models, respectively. Our MLMs outperformed traditional acute serologic screening and can provide accurate early screening for the probable diagnosis of leptospirosis in dogs.

Figure 2. Overview of workflow for the 2 prediction models, blood work (BW) and BW + microscopic agglutination test (MAT).

Be sure to sign up for JVDI email alerts! JVDI alerts let you know when new articles and eTOCs are available online. Alerts can be requested on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Note that only abstracts are available via email alerts—you will need to login through AAVLD or your institution to access and read the full articles.
Signing up for email alerts is simple.
1. Go to the JVDI website: https://journals.sagepub.com/home/vdi
2. On the Stay Connected tab dropdown menu, click on Email Alerts
3. Choose New Content and/or Announcements, then Create Email Alert
4. Then “Sign into SAGE Journals”
If you already have a SAGE account, use the left box My Account. Otherwise, click Register for a free SAGE Journals account. (You will be able to update your email alerts anytime and will see the message “Your email alert settings have been updated” at completion.)
Let’s stay connected!
Worth Quoting

It is back to school time! Education is the topic of this months’ Worth Quoting. 

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.

~Nelson Mandela

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

~Benjamin Franklin

Education is the best friend. An educated person is respected everywhere. Education beats the beauty and the youth.


Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.

~George Washington Carver

Source:  BrainyQuote

Meeting Registration is now open.

Registration for AAVLD attendees includes ON-SITE or VIRTUAL options.
On-site registrants will enjoy a meeting similar to recent years, and also be able to utilize the on-demand features. Virtual registrants will have on-demand access to all scientific session presentations via recordings, as well as webinar access to key events such as the plenary session speakers, the keynote speaker, awards ceremony, and virtual exhibitor materials. 
Schedule your meetings today!

Take advantage of early registration Wednesday, October 5, 2022, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Symposium details are available. Take a moment to register today.

Enjoy the hybrid option of ON-Demand viewing to ensure you don't miss a thing.

Make your hotel reservation today!

Plan Your Trip
All the planning essentials you need in one place.

  • Maps and transportation
  • Minneapolis Visitor Guide
  • Events and much more.

ATTENTION: Vendors Serving Veterinary Diagnostic Labs and the Animal Health Industry
2022 AAVLD Hybrid Trade Show

During the AAVLD/USAHA Annual Meeting 2022 Minneapolis
October 8-9, 2022
Onsite in Minneapolis and Virtual
We hope to see you there. 
For details contact our meeting planner Kaylin Taylor

AAVLD New Member Benefit MC l LMS is now here!

Take a look, the MC l LMS is now here!

AAVLD has brought you a new membership benefit that is sure to peek your interest. The MC l LMS is a Learning Management System. The MC l LMS will keep certification and training materials in one place. Members can view training videos, scientific presentations and much more. AAVLD is offering the current packages to AAVLD members as a membership benefit.

Some of the MC l LMS features:

  • Single-Sign-On (SSO) with Oasis
  • Content Upload and Management
  • Customized Certificates
  • Continuing Education Tracking
  • Group-based Permissions
  • Progress and Usage Reporting

View annual meeting materials now!
  • Recordings of Scientific Sessions
  • Proceeding's booklet (abstracts)
  • Plenary Speaker lectures from the annual meetings
All are available to AAVLD members at no cost.

To access this feature, go to www.aavld.org -> Login -> Resources -> CE Resources and Archives
2022 Hybrid AAVLD / USAHA Annual Meeting
Credit video to 'Don't Blink'
Annual Meeting Quick Links
Technological Advances in Veterinary Diagnostics: What's Here and What's on the Horizon?
Sponsor and Exhibitor Opportunities

2022 AAVLD/USAHA Annual Meeting
Hyatt Regency Minneapolis-Minneapolis, MN
 Meeting dates: October 6-12, 2022
Show dates: October 8th-9th, 2022

AAVLD Job Board
Take advantage of the terrific AAVLD resources offered to our members
Veterinary Jobs - American Association of Veterinary...
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2023 Renewals are due by November 15!
'Membership is January to December'
AAVLD membership is open to any individual interested in the disciplines and activities of veterinary diagnostic laboratories. Membership terms are by calendar year (January-December) and membership dues are payable by November 15th of the preceding year (to ensure inclusion in the annual membership directory, eligibility for committee involvement, and receipt of all six issues of the JVDI). Note: In order to receive a discounted rate for the Annual Meeting registration, you are required to be a current AAVLD Member.
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AAVLD & News Worthy Events
Up and Coming!

AAVLD Executive Board Meeting

September 7, 2022 (Virtually)

AAVLD/USAHA Hybrid Annual Meeting, Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, October 6-12, 2022 (Due to the uncertainty with Covid-19, there may be updates to the details of the meeting.)

AAVLD Meeting Calendar

Do you have ideas to improve the AAVLD annual meeting? Contact David Zeman dzeman@aavld.org

Would you like to sponsor an event? Contact

Would like to make a year-end donation to the AAVLD Foundation?  Make your donation today!

What ever your contribution to the AAVLD mission, we need you!

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Thank you
2022 Annual Meeting Sponsors
The generous contributions and participation by our Exhibitors and Sponsors is a huge part of our conference success year after year. On behalf of the AAVLD, we would like to thank these companies for their commitment to our organization and helping us to achieve our mission.
Zoetis, the largest global animal health company
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AAVLD Leaders and Lab Directors
 Time to start shopping for this year’s donation to the AAVLD Foundation Auction!!  

Go to AAVLD Foundation Auction More details ...
AAVLD Foundation Committee

Brett Webb- Cochair
Francois Elvinger- Cochair

Pat Halbur, Christie Mayo, Kristy Pabilonia, Bruce Akey, Beate Crossley, Kerri Sondgeroth, David Zeman, Tim Baszler, Jamie Henningson, Donal O’Toole
Foundation Donation
The AAVLD Foundation is a non-profit foundation that raises funds for the advancement of veterinary diagnostic laboratory disciplines through scholarship programs, student travel support to our scientific meeting, guest lectures, seminars, professional awards and research programs. Contributions to the Foundation are tax-deductible 501(c)(3), and can be paid when you renew your AAVLD membership. Thank you for remembering your AAVLD Foundation!
Make a donation today!
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