Colorado State University Dedicates New Diagnostic Medicine Center

Colorado State University today unveiled its new Diagnostic Medicine Center, a project funded completely through state funds that will help Colorado combat animal diseases that could pose a threat to the health and well-being of communities statewide.

The new building is adjacent to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and is part of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. It will better enable the university to help monitor the health of animals and wildlife in the state and research new approaches to disease intervention and prevention. It will also serve as a cutting-edge training ground for veterinary students at one of the nation’s top-ranked programs.

Colorado State University completed the uniquely designed $42 million-building in June. It houses the college’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, the university’s Extension veterinarian, the Clinical Pathology Laboratory and the Animal Population Health Institute.

“The Diagnostic Medicine Center at Colorado State couldn’t have been built without the strong support of our state leaders who recognized the value of a facility such as this for monitoring, detecting and preventing diseases that can have a widespread impact on our state’s economy,” said Colorado State President Tony Frank. “We are proud to partner with the state in providing these essential services to the people of Colorado.”

The 88,000 square feet of new laboratory and office space feature a central atrium with abundant natural lighting. The university broke ground on the new facility in December 2007.

“This new facility is an important addition to the university’s role in keeping animals around the state and nation healthy, and we’re grateful to the state for its support in helping us do this more effectively,” said Dr. Lance Perryman, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “For example, this building has a tremendous impact on our diagnostic laboratory services. It replaces cramped and out-of-date space around the university and overflow into several portable trailers that have been temporarily housing office space for the laboratory, expanding the 15,000 square feet of inadequate space the laboratory had been operating in to 88,000 square feet of well-thought-out space that allows us to centralize like services to optimize communication and the sharing of resources.”

The university’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory provides disease testing services to veterinarians and their clients, many state and federal agencies, livestock owners and pet owners. The laboratory diagnoses and recommends further diagnostic strategies for ill animals. It also monitors the health of animals across the state and region, helping to detect and prevent diseases in animals and diseases affecting public health. Veterinary students also learn about diagnostic tests through the laboratory.

The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory processes about 500,000 diagnostic tests, including necropsies, each year. The building includes 2,000 square feet of biosecurity level 3 laboratory space. It also features abundant necropsy space and an additional 1,200 square feet of biosecurity level 2 necropsy space. The veterinary diagnostic laboratory also is one of seven labs in the nation selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to test for bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease and is a core laboratory of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.

The clinical pathology laboratory provides services such as blood, fluid and urine analysis and cytology to identify diseases and illnesses in animals that are brought to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital or to veterinarians in the region. The lab also educates veterinary students and residents.

The Animal Population Health Institute encourages collaboration and information and expertise exchange in veterinary epidemiology among scientists at Colorado State, collaborating institutions and government agencies throughout the world. The institute focuses on collaborative, multidisciplinary research to improve animal population health, to prevent and control infectious and other important animal diseases, and to contribute to national and international animal disease policies by providing a better understanding of disease epidemiology and pathogenesis.

The university’s Extension veterinarian provides services and education to the state’s animal owners in an effort to protect the health of animals and the economic viability of the state’s animal-driven economy.