The University of Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) has become the nation’s first veterinary diagnostic lab to offer high-volume, same-day test results for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) submissions nationwide.

The lab began offering the same-day service in response to requests from boar studs. The studs want to prove to producer clients that the semen they are shipping has tested negative for the PRRS virus.

The new service also helps studs more quickly identify and control PRRS, increasing productivity and saving commercial herds from potentially devastating disease outbreaks.

"PRRS virus is shed in boar semen even before there are clinical signs, so boar stud operations need evidence that the product they ship to buyers has been tested and found negative for the PRRS virus," states Jim Collins, DVM, director of the VDL.

"Boar semen must be shipped fresh, so every hour that the shipment is delayed results in some degradation. Rapid results translate into greater productivity, because the semen can be sold and used when it’s at its peak," says Collins.

"When producers asked us in December for faster results, we immediately revamped our PRRS testing service," adds Jeffery Klausner, DVM, and dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "We’re further strengthening Minnesota’s food animal production industry while providing value-added services that can improve a producer’s bottom line."

The new VDL service debuted Jan. 6, 2003. In the first four days, about 350 tests were conducted on more than 1,300 semen samples.

Two processes have been enhanced to achieve same-day service. First, the VDL modified the delivery time so samples arrive earlier, and adjusted lab staffing to work longer hours. Second, instead of relying on telephone or fax services, customers can utilize the VDL’s upgraded, online reporting service. Customers can retrieve results within eight hours through the VDL’s secure Web site. The online service allows producers and veterinarians to view current and past lab results from all the samples they’ve submitted.

"Our Web site provides real-time test results along with links to key treatment information 24 hours a day, seven days a week," says Collins. "We’re committed to converting diagnostic data into information that veterinarians and producers can use to act more quickly and better manage their operations," he concludes.