Skip to main content

The Animal Health Diagnostic Center (AHDC) & New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Cornell University offers comprehensive veterinary diagnostic services.

Resilient and far-reaching service

The AHDC offers expertise and diagnostic services in anatomic and clinical pathology; infection disease detection in bacteriology, virology, parasitology, molecular diagnostics and serology; toxicology; endocrinology; and comparative coagulation. It operates Quality Milk Production Services, with four laboratories in Canton, Cobleskill, Ithaca and Warsaw; the Avian Health Program including the Duck Research Laboratory on Long Island; and the Wildlife Health Laboratory in Ithaca. Faculty in Veterinary Support Services provide consultation and assistance to clients on test selection, sampling and testing strategies, interpretation of results and incorporation of diagnostics in disease prevention, surveillance and control programs.

Diagnosticians and scientists at the AHDC have the expertise and capacity to detect and characterize emerging diseases that threaten animal health worldwide. The AHDC is designated a Level 1 laboratory in the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), based on its accreditation status, infrastructure and functional laboratory information management system, its high level of emergency preparedness, surveillance capabilities and continuous surveillance output, the value and level of animal commodities in its service areas, and its active organizational contribution to the network.

The AHDC operates a BSL-3 functional laboratory space, including for necropsy of any animal species. Under its NAHLN commitment, the AHDC has proficiency-tested personnel and the capability to test for the current highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak, as well as exotic Newcastle disease, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), African swine fever, classical swine fever, chronic wasting disease and scrapie, foot and mouth disease, and swine influenza, which are high impact foreign animal or zoonotic diseases.

Diagnostic testing in particular of livestock and poultry supports and protects a vibrant component of the New York agricultural economy, providing effective surveillance of endemic and epidemic disease events in the state and beyond.

State partnerships

About one quarter of the FY2024 $39 million operational budget of the AHDC is funded through a contract with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to support its function as the New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, as established by law, with additional state funding for wildlife health through a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation contract, and funding from USDA Veterinary Services to support high consequence disease surveillance, response and mitigation activities. Most recently the AHDC was awarded funding through USDA: APHIS to serve as a National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility/NAHLN liaison laboratory for the U.S. Northeast.

New York Code – Agriculture and Markets – Article 5 § 73-b. The New York state veterinary diagnostic laboratory.

  1. The commissioner is authorized to establish and maintain, by contract or otherwise, a New York state veterinary diagnostic laboratory and to contract for other diagnostic services, as he or she may deem necessary or beneficial, to improve the health of food and fiber producing animals, companion animals, sport and recreational animals, exotic animals and wildlife.
  2. The New York state veterinary diagnostic laboratory shall:
    • Evaluate domestic and wild animal populations for evidence of disease agents that may cause human disease;
    • Maintain capability to respond to disease outbreaks in animals;
    • Establish diagnostic testing capabilities to establish herd health status and evaluation of disease programs;
    • Support disease surveillance and monitoring programs of domestic, zoo and wild animals;
    • Support veterinarians by analyzing and interpreting samples obtained from clinical cases; and
    • Evaluate, adjust and improve New York’s ability to recognize diseases that impact animal populations.