The University of Calgary’s Diagnostic Services Unit has the capability to monitor diseases that could spread to humans
A decades-long gap in Alberta’s ability to test livestock for diseases is beginning to be bridged due to a new laboratory being launched at the University of Calgary.
The project will help ease costs and deliver quicker results, and the lab will keep an eye on diseases that could potentially spread to humans, said Jennifer Davies, director of the Diagnostic Services Unit at the university’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
“As a result of that, you’re supporting not only the livelihoods of the producers, you have this incredible ability to protect animal health and welfare and also human health as well,” she said.
New services will include the ability to determine resistance patterns to antimicrobial drugs in bacteria within livestock, which can pose a threat to animal and human health, she said.
“We’ll be able to use antimicrobials more judiciously so that we prevent resistance from occurring.”
Researchers will also be better able to identify new and emerging diseases in animals that could potentially infect people, said Davies. The lab is slated to be launched Oct. 26 and will be funded until February 2024.
The provincial government recently announced $3.4 million will be provided for the lab, which will be located in the faculty’s Spy Hill campus in Calgary. The pilot project will involve veterinary diagnostics “that are of high quality, affordable and readily accessible,” said Davies.
“I think it