After 44 years at its current location at the University of New Hampshire, the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (NHVDL) soon will have a new-and-improved home on campus. Construction is set to begin soon on a modern facility that will better enable the NHVDL to provide essential diagnostic services to the state’s agricultural, veterinary, wildlife, and public health communities and enrich their contributions to the academic opportunities for students in the university’s biomedical sciences and pre-veterinary medicine programs.
“This new facility will provide improvements that will significantly enhance our ability to safely and effectively aid in the detection and diagnosis of various animal health issues that arise. With the growth in New Hampshire agriculture and the concern over emerging diseases the need for surveillance and diagnostic testing is essential to maintain healthy herds and a safe food supply,” said Robert Gibson, managing director of the NHVDL.
The NHVDL is an effective partnership that is co-funded and co-managed by the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food and the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. It has served the university and the state since 1970, working at the junction of animal health, public health, environmental health, and economic health. The lab provides accessible, timely and accurate diagnostic services for the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets, & Food, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, state and local law enforcement agencies, veterinarians, farmers, and other relevant state, regional, and federal agencies.
The lab assists the New Hampshire Commissioner of Agriculture and State Veterinarian in their efforts to monitor and control important animal diseases. The lab also provides diagnostic services to hundreds of veterinarians from New Hampshire and New England who use the lab’s histopathology, microbiology, serology, and necropsy services for the diagnosis of animal diseases in pets, farm animals, wildlife, zoo and marine animals.
“We are excited about the long-needed expanded and improved lab facility. The new lab will enhance productivity and expand capacity for handling larger livestock -- important for animal agriculture in the state. The new location adjacent to the Thompson School will be a huge improvement for farmers and other users of the lab's services. The greatly improved accessibility will likely result in increased use of the lab's services, which will benefit animal agriculture in the state and region,” said Lorraine Merrill, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food.
The $2.5 million project will consist of a one-story, 6,500-square-foot facility located on the Durham campus near the Macfarlane Greenhouses at Main Street and North Drive. “This new facility would not have been possible without financial support from several state and university stakeholders. In particular, NH Sen. Jim Rausch played a critical role in securing $500,000 in state funding that helped make the new facility a reality,” Gibson said.
The new facility is expected to be completed in August 2015 and follows an extensive reorganization two years ago that has resulted in record revenues generated from service fees.
“This new facility not only allows us to better serve the state and region, but it ensures that our students will have modern facilities in which to obtain hands-on experiential opportunities,” said Jon Wraith, dean of the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and director of the NH Agricultural Experiment Station. “There are many stakeholders who depend on the New Hampshire Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Whether they are a farmer, a veterinarian, a pet owner, or one of the more than 200 pre-vet and vet-tech students in our college, the lab has far reaching effects for them and the state.”
The lab contributes to the teaching and advising of students seeking training in the biomedical sciences. NHVDL veterinary pathologists and staff are employees in the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and assist with the college’s Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program and Veterinary Technology Program. NHVDL veterinarians serve as advisors for pre-vet students in the program, and independent investigation courses are offered for students who wish to gain experience in the lab.
NHVDL services are made available through the cooperative support of the UNH College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, and the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food. The New Hampshire Veterinary Medical Association has been a strong partner in the history and ongoing success of the NHVDL and provides support and advice to the lab via a standing advisory committee of the association.
The lab accepts tax-deductible gifts. Not only do gifts help strengthen and protect the state’s agriculture, animal health, and public health systems, they also support students who seek training in the pre-vet and biomedical sciences. For more information on private support of the NHVDL, including making a gift in memory of an individual or pet, visit http://www.nhvdl.unh.edu/giving.