Available services and diagnostic
tests [pdf] performed by the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute (ARC-OVI) are
grouped and tabulated in accordance with the organisation of specialities within
the ARC-OVI. Diseases, which appear under their common names, and tests, are
listed alphabetically within each section. Under "collection and submission of
specimens" additional information is given on samples that are required for
virology, especially when foot-and-mouth disease, African swine fever or rabies
Individual services or tests can be located quickly by using
the key words in the index at the end of this manual.
"Test time" as defined in this manual represents the number of
working days expected to elapse from the day the samples are received at the
ARC-OVI to the day on which the results become available. Often a range of days
is given because tests frequently have to be carried out in batches to be cost
Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute
For enquiries regarding submissions, results or other
information please contact the Registration Office - + 27 (0) 12 529-9274/3/2.
The Institute is open Monday to Friday from 7h30 to 16h00. The telephone number
at all hours is + 27 (0) 12 529-9111. Results of diagnostic tests will be
notified by telephone or fax when possible, and will be followed by a written
Transboundary Animal Diseases Programme
For enquiries concerning Foot-and-mouth disease and African
swine fever, please dial + 27 (0) 12 529-9592/84 or + 27 (0) 12 529-9274/3/2.
The TADP is manned 24 hours per day; the after hours number is + 27 (0) 12
529-9579 (security office).
An accurate diagnosis depends on the availability of proper
specimens. It is therefore essential that the specimens should be collected and
submitted as outlined in this manual. They should be sent to the ARC-OVI as
quickly as possible and, when necessary, a courier service must be used.
Specimens can be submitted after hours, preferably with prior notification of
the section involved, and in such cases they should be delivered at the security
office. A pathologist is available after hours to attend emergency cases and can
be contacted telephonically by dialling +27 (0) 12 529-9111.
Specimens for the diagnosis of Foot-and-mouth disease and
African swine fever (see also below) must always be delivered or sent directly
to the Transboundary Animal Diseases Programme (TADP)
Specimens must be kept cool during transport and should be
refrigerated first at 4°C and then sent packed on frozen cool packs (see
Fish should be sent alive where possible.
Suitable containers for the submission of specimens as well as
swabs for bacteriological cultures and virological isolations are available from
the OVI. For further information please contact the Registration Office + 27 (0)
12 529- 9274/3/2.
a) The address for all submissions (except for Foot-and-mouth
disease and African swine fever) is:
Senior Manager Research: Animal Health and ProtectionARC-Onderstepoort Veterinary
InstitutePrivate Bag X05Onderstepoort, 0110Republic of South
b) The address to use for the submission of specimens for the
diagnosis of Foot-and-mouth disease and African swine fever is:
Transboundary Animal Diseases Programme
Private Bag X5Onderstepoort,0110Republic of South
Specimens submitted for Brucella serology must be accompanied
by the "Brucella CA5 form" and for dourine by the
"Dourine test and agreement form". On both these forms the
name, farm address and telephone number of the owner must be indicated and the
dourine agreement must be signed and witnessed as any legal document.
Brain samples submitted for the fluorescent antibody
test (FAT) for the rabies virus and/or serum samples for the
serology test for rabies antibody titres, must be accompanied
by the following forms:
These and the general submission form [Word
Document] and Animal History Form [pdf] for FMD samples as an
addendum to the General submission form are also available from the Diagnostic
Registration Office + 27 (0) 12 529-9274/3/2. Should the general submission form
not be available, the specimens must be accompanied by a covering letter. This
letter should include relevant information concerning the owner, name and
district of the farm, person responsible for invoice, animal(s) involved,
history, symptoms of illness and post mortem lesions.
Speciman registration: Contact person, Dr Laura Lopez-Rebollar,
Specimens submitted for BSE must be accompanied by the "Submission
forms". Both these forms must be completed. [pdf]
It may be necessary, to provide additional cooling in the
remote and hotter areas of the country, to ensure that, samples reach the
laboratory in good condition. Samples need to reach the laboratory within 2 days
of collection and no later than 12:00 on Fridays.Laboratory closed: Weekends
and Public holidays.
Specimen for virus isolation:
Specimens should be collected early in the acute phase of
the illness. They should be fresh, and if possible collected aseptically with no
preservative or fixative added. Swabs taken from clinically ill animals should
be placed directly into a viral transport medium. These specimens should be
refrigerated, not frozen, as soon as collected. Note that swabs for Chlamydia
isolation must be placed in a chlamydia transport medium.
For many diseases it is imperative that paired serum samples be
submitted for detecting viral infections since only the demonstration of a
significant increase in antibody level (generally a four-old rise in titre) is
meaningful. The first sample should be collected early in the acute phase and
the second taken during convalescence three weeks later. The first sample can be
retained frozen until the follow-up sample has been taken and they can then be
submitted, clearly marked, at the same time. In the case of congenital
deformities in neonatal calves and lambs as well as the weak-calf syndrome
pre-colostral serum is essential. Paired serum samples have only limited value
in the case of abortions unless an abortion storm is involved.
Commercially available vacuum tubes should be used, and heparin
rather than EDTA is preferred as anticoagulant. Blood should be kept at 4°C (not
frozen), should be taken during the febrile stage of the illness and should be
submitted on frozen cool packs as soon as possible.
Blood for serological testing should be collected in red top
vacuum tubes and allowed to clot at room temperature (between 18-24°C). If there
is an unavoidable delay (more than 5 days) before dispatch or a long transit
time, the clot should be removed as aseptically as possible. It is preferable to
decant the serum into a new tube. Serum should be stored at 4°C and sent to the
laboratory, packed on frozen cool packs.
Faecal specimens for electron microscopy:
Either faeces or colonic contents may be submitted; rectal
swabs are not suitable. Specimens must be collected within hours of the onset of
diarrhoea and, where possible, directly from the animal. The specimens should be
kept at 4°C and sent on frozen cool packs.