Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center

Enhancing the health and well-being of livestock and companion animals

Exterior of the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Fax number discontinued

The NVDC fax number is no longer operational. Beginning immediately, please send submission and other forms to our email address, vdc2@unl.edu. Thank you!

Duan Loy, research manager at the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center, prepares a sample to measure RNA.

Welcome to the NVDC

The Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center (NVDC) employs state-of-the-art testing procedures to provide disease surveillance and diagnostic services to veterinarians, livestock producers, pet owners and researchers.

The diagnostic center is part of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The NVDC is recognized nationally for its expertise in diagnosing diseases in cattle and other food animals. It is Nebraska's only veterinary diagnostic lab accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

NVDC offers a full complement of bacteriologic, histologic, immunohistochemical necropsy, molecular diagnostic, serologic, toxicologic, electron microscopic and traditional virologic services. Laboratory cases are coordinated by and test results interpreted by faculty veterinarians. Our faculty diagnosticians have a wide range of nationally recognized expertise, and most have specialized training and board certification in disciplines including pathology, microbiology and immunology.

We are committed to providing timely, accurate results to our clients along with outstanding customer service. Call us at 402-472-1434 during regular business hours or email us anytime.

Quick links

Anatomic Pathology Residency Program
Web portal sign-in
Follow-up testing/supplies order form

Veterinary medical questions

Please consult your personal veterinarian if you have veterinary care or animal related questions.

NVDC is an AAVLD-certified lab

image of current AAVLD accreditation certificate

Cutting-edge technology improves NVDC services

Diagnosticians in the news

NVDC faculty diagnosticians are often asked to contribute to articles and news video related to animal disease and health. Check out NVDC News for more.

Let us hear from you

We're interested in your feedback. Please use our online form to leave a comment.

Subscribe to receive announcements and our newsletter

* indicates required

Capabilities Spotlight: Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center

Exterior of the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center.

Positioned within the land that serves as home to four cattle per person is a state-of-the-art facility on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s (UNL) East Campus that serves not only the state’s food producers but the nation’s — the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center.

In November 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden issued National Security Memorandum 16 (NSM-16), Strengthening the Security and Resilience of United States Food and Agriculture..."> Continue reading

Announcements

Investigating the cause of cattle abortions: When to involve your veterinarian and what happens next

It’s fall, and for cow/calf producers throughout the region that often means it’s time to preg check. Confirming pregnancy in the herd is an important milestone in the overall cow/calf production system, but there’s still a lot that needs to go right before you’re admiring next year’s weaned calf crop. Unfortunately, reproductive losses can still happen between confirmation of pregnancy and calving. Beef producers and veterinarians often refer to any death loss before calving as an “abortion”, but in reality, true abortions only make up a portion of this loss. It is important to define some of the terms regarding reproductive losses: Continue reading...


Tularemia--what you should know

Francisella tularensis or Tularemia is a bacterial pathogen on the CDC’s list of select agents due to its ability to cause rapid disease and death. The microorganism is endemic in this area of the US, and the NVDC sees several cases a year.

In summer, Tularemia should be considered as a differential diagnosis in acutely ill, febrile cats. Cats at increased risk for Tularemia include cats with outdoor access and cats that have access to rodents and rabbits. Additional clinical signs include a high WBC count, icterus, enlarged lymph nodes, splenic and liver masses or enlargement on ultrasound or palpation.

Since Tularemia is a zoonotic pathogen that can cause life-threatening illness in people, ruling out Tularemia is important. Tularemia can be spread through infected tissue aerosols or direct inoculation with infected material. If you suspect that you have been exposed to Tularemia, let your doctor know immediately.

In living cats, lymph node aspirates or blood can be cultured to confirm diagnosis. Lymph node aspirates should be inoculated into a bacterial culture tube. Ulcer swabs can also be cultured for Tularemia. Mark "Tularemia Suspect" on the submission form to prioritize testing. Do not submit syringes with infected material: it can endanger people who handle the syringes.

In cats that have died, submit the whole cat for necropsy and mark "Tularemia Suspect" on the submission form.

Cats are especially susceptible given that they are predators of rabbits and other small rodents that often harbor the organism; however, other species can also be infected. Tularemia can be transmitted via tick and deer fly bites.

For more information, refer to this website: https://www.cdc.gov/tularemia/index.html


EZ-Ship pricing change

Due to increased shipping costs, NVDC will need to update the prices associated with using EZ-Ship. The new rates, effective April 1, are:

UPS Ground
Small < 15 LB: $10
Medium 15-24 LB: $15
Large 25-35 LB: $20
Extra Large > 35 LB: Cost

UPS Next Day Air
Small < 15 LB: $28
Medium 15-24 LB: $40
Large 25-35 LB: $55
Extra Large > 35 LB: Cost

Thank you for understanding and continuing to choose us to serve your needs.


Loy named NVDC director

March 8, 2023—Dr. Dustin Loy has been selected and has accepted the position of director of the Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center, effectively immediately. Loy succeeds Bruce Brodersen, who spent more than 30 years on the UNL faculty and had led the center since 2019.

Dr. Loy grew up on a small beef operation in central Iowa. He received his BS in animal science, DVM in food animal medicine, and PhD in veterinary microbiology from Iowa State University. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists with specialties in bacteriology, virology and immunology.

Prior to coming to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln he worked at a biotech startup developing RNA-based vaccines for animals. Currently he is a professor, veterinary diagnostic microbiologist and faculty supervisor for the bacteriology and molecular diagnostic laboratories in the NVDC. His research focuses on the application of genomics, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, infrared spectrometry (FT-IR), and PCR to pathogens, with a focus on bovine diseases and antimicrobial resistance, where he has contributed to more than 50 publications, several books and patents and numerous grants.

Dr. Loy is an instructor in both the veterinary science undergraduate curriculum and the Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Loy has served in leadership and committee roles through the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists, the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association, and the Lincoln-Lancaster Board of Health.

Congratulations to Dustin, and thanks to the Search Advisory Committee, faculty and staff of the NVDC for their efforts throughout the selection process.

Scott McVey
Director, School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences


HPAI in cats

February 24, 2023—Although the recent highly pathogenic avian influenza virus, H5N1, affects mainly birds, it been reported to infect a variety mammal species. Recently, we have encountered cases of domestic cats becoming infected. The case report linked below describes the findings from two domestic cats that were infected with the virus.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in Mammals: A Case Report of Two Domestic Cats (PDF)

Fee to cover 'Stat' testing

November 2, 2022—The Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center will begin charging an additional $25 fee for cases in which “Stat” testing is requested. We are doing this as a method to recoup expenses incurred when specific testing is requested outside of our normal testing schedule. These expenses are due to extra time, reagents, and labware needed to perform tests outside of our normal workflow. Please plan ahead to allow plenty of time for testing when scheduling sample collections.


Update on avian influenza

March 17, 2022—The first case of avian influenza in Nebraska was identified in Lancaster County on March 4, 2022, in a wild goose. It has now been identified in nearly all corners of the state and is spreading. We have seen cases involving domestic poultry as well as wild waterfowl. To date, there have been no cases in commercial production facilities.

The strain that we are seeing has been identified as the Eurasian lineage goose/Guangdong H5 clade 2.3.4.4b. There have been no reports of human infection. Reported clinical signs in chickens include sudden reduction in water consumption, reduced egg production, diarrhea, respiratory distress, and sudden and significant increase in mortality. We have also been told of CNS signs in wild waterfowl. Mortality rates can be as high as 100% in chickens. If you are observing these signs in your birds, you should contact the State Veterinarian’s office at 402-471-2351 or the USDA at 866-536-7593. If you see wild birds with suspicious signs, contact your local Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Conservation Officer

The Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center (NVDC) is a Level 1 laboratory in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) and has been activated to respond to this outbreak. When there is a suspected case, samples are tested here at the NVDC for rapid turnaround. Non-negative test results reported at the NVDC are actionable as deemed by the NAHLN, and samples are sent to the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, IA, for follow-up confirmation and characterization of the isolate.

If you have further questions, call the numbers above or contact the NVDC at 402-472-1434.

For more information about avian influenza, visit NDA’s website at or the USDA’s website. Additional information on biosecurity for backyard flocks can be found at http://healthybirds.aphis.usda.gov.


EZ-Ship program available now

February 11, 2022—The EZ-Ship program is available again. For details on using EZ-Ship, please visit the Shipping page of our website. Thank you for your patience as we resolved the issues.


Accession and histology fees to increase Feb. 1, 2022

Beginning Feb. 1, 2022, the NVDC tests catalog will reflect new prices for some items in our fee schedule. These prices apply to samples received on or after that date.

As always, we make every effort to keep fees low for our clients; however, over time modest increases are necessary. This is the first time in many years these fees have been adjusted.

We appreciate you and your business. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.


Reduced disposal fee for cattle and pigs

November 11, 2021—Last year, we were notified by the rendering company that picked up our cattle and pigs that they would no longer service the NVDC. Because of that, we had to raise our disposal fee to a level that was prohibitive for you to bring carcasses to us. After working with the renderer, I’m happy to say they have agreed to once again to pick up carcasses. The disposal fee for cattle and pigs will revert back to what it was previously.

The past increase in fees seriously reduced our caseload for necropsies. Part of our mission is disease surveillance and discovery of emerging diseases. Without us performing these postmortem exams we are not fulfilling our mission. I hope this update about fees will help you convince your clients to take advantage of our services.