The Louisiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (LADDL) building opened Thursday, uniting its equipment and staff in a dedicated location for the first time since moving to the University three decades ago.
The facility, located behind the School of Veterinary Medicine, houses about 30 LADDL staff members who provide comprehensive diagnostic services for most animal diseases. Previously, they were scattered throughout the Vet School building, according to LADDL director Daniel Paulsen.
The lab provides microbiology, bacteriology, virology, toxicology, pathology and molecular diagnostics services for animals. Paulsen said vet students, particularly those in pathology rotations, have opportunities to work with LADDL staff.
Paulsen said pet ownership has been increasing, so services for those animals have been in greater demand. The rise in cases of West Nile virus a few years ago was another boost for LADDL, he said, because the lab conducts disease surveillance in mosquito populations statewide, which is important to both human and animal health.
Paulsen said the building has new equipment that will allow LADDL to begin conducting endocrinology tests and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis, a process used to study genes to detect bacteria and viruses. Equine medical surveillance — drug testing for race horses and show animals — is also expected to be transferred to LADDL, he said.
LADDL was originally administered by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and became a division of the Vet School around 1980, Paulsen said. Today, LADDL operates as a partnership between the University and the Vet School, as well as with veterinarians and animal producers throughout the state.
The design process for the new building began in 2003 and was completed in 2006. Its construction was funded by the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry and the finished building was donated to the University.
Space in the Vet School building was becoming more precious, Paulsen said. Plus, LADDL was increasing the number of services it provided, and staff needed their own space. Now that everyone at LADDL is under the same roof, Paulsen said he predicts greater efficiency for the lab.