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Appendix B - Sources of Wildlife Disease Diagnostic Assistance in the United States

Assistance in obtaining a diagnosis of wildlife illness or death is available from a variety of sources. However, it is advisable to make inquiries before the need arises about available services, the estimated response time for completing work, and who to contact when assistance is required.

The following wildlife disease programs can offer information, assistance and services.

The above listing is not intended to be comprehensive. Rather, it illustrates the diversity of possible sources of assistance. Individual circumstances and events dictate which of these sources will be most useful in specific situations.

Wildlife Disease Programs
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U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division National Wildlife Health Center
6006 Schroeder Road
Madison, WI 53711

Telephone (608) 271-4640
Web site: http://www.emtc.usgs.gov/nwhchome.html

State fish and game agencies. Several States have wildlife disease programs.
Contact the State fish and game agency headquarters to inquire about assistance.
Regional wildlife disease programs. Two regional programs are presently affiliated with universities:

a. Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602

Telephone (706) 542-1741.

b. Northeastern Research Center for Wildlife Diseases
University of Connecticut
Department of Pathobiology
Storrs, CT 06269-3089

Telephone (860) 486-3737.

University programs. Several other universities, for example, the University of Florida--Gainesville and Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University--Blacksburg, are involved in wildlife disease activities. Inquiries at schools of veterinary medicine and departments of veterinary or animal science at universities throughout the United States will reveal additional sources of wildlife disease diagnostic assistance.
Private sector. Some private consultants also deal with wildlife disease problems.

Domestic Animal Disease Programs
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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service National Veterinary Services Laboratories
P.O. Box 844, Ames, Iowa 50010

Telephone (515) 239-8600.

This facility accepts diagnostic specimens that have been referred to it through appropriate State or Federal channels.

State departments of agriculture. Animal disease diagnostic laboratories exist to serve domestic animal needs, but will often accept wildlife specimens.
Private sector. Veterinarians in private practice often have both interest and expertise in wildlife diseases and may become involved with these problems.

 

Federal Government
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) The Division of Environmental Contaminants (DEC) is the FWS focal point for issues associated with chemical toxins.

Information on contaminants can be obtained from the Central Office in Washington, D.C.

b. DEC biologists are assigned to field offices throughout the FWS Regions. They work on specific contaminant issues in each Region and are available to provide information and assistance regarding mortality event investigations.

c. Toxic spill coordinators are located in each Regional Office, providing a focal point for response actions.

d. FWS Regional Offices are located in:

  • Portland, Ore.;
  • Albuquerque, N. Mex.;
  • Fort Snelling, Minn.;
  • Atlanta, Ga.;
  • Hadley, Mass.;
  • Denver, Colo.;
  • Anchorage, Alaska.
U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division (BRD) The National Wildlife Health Center, which is the BRD Science Center in Madison, Wis., provides information about and assists in investigating wildlife mortality events.

Telephone: (608) 271-4640
Web site: http://www.emtc.usgs.gov/nwhchome.html

b. Research on chemical toxins is carried out at several BRD Science Centers. Those Centers maintain in-depth technical knowledge regarding the fate and impacts of chemicals in the environment. The Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md. is an internationally recognized source of information on the effects of contaminants, particularly on avian species.

Telephone: (301) 497-5500

Web site: <http//www.pwrc.nbs.gov>.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a. Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response
Telephone: (703) 308-8413
Web site: http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/index.htm.

b. The Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) assesses the hazards and risks posed by industrial chemicals to human health and the environment. The Environmental Effects Branch (telephone: (202) 260-1268) in OPPT can provide information on the toxicity of chemicals to aquatic and terrestrial organisms.

c. Office of Pesticide Programs (telephone: (703) 305-5392) maintains the Ecological Incident Information System, which is a data base on mortality of non-target organisms caused by pesticides.

State Government
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State Natural Resource Agencies Many State natural resource agencies have environmental contaminant programs that provide a mechanism to report suspected chemical toxin problems. Some States have groups that investigate mortality events associated with chemicals, and that may be able to provide field assistance and chemical analysis.
Natural Resource Agencies Natural resource agencies in several States maintain wildlife health programs, which respond to wildlife mortality events.
State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratories State veterinary diagnostic laboratories often have toxicologists on staff who have specific knowledge of toxic problems within the region.

Poison Control Centers
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National Animal Poison Control Center The National Animal Poison Control Center at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine provides a fee-based service directed to prevention and treatment of adverse effects of chemical exposures in animals. This service is staffed by veterinary health professionals who have access to a wide range of information specific to animal poisoning.
American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) has certified about 40 regional poison information centers throughout the U.S. that focus on human exposure to chemical toxins. These centers function to provide poison information, telephone management and consultation, collect pertinent data, and deliver professional and public education. The national AAPCC office is in Washington, D.C.

Colleges of Veterinary Medicine
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Most colleges of veterinary medicine have toxicology departments staffed with experts in the area of animal toxicology.

Analytical Laboratories
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Choosing an analytical laboratory requires attention to methods used, quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC), and cost. Laboratories should be using methods that are appropriate to the analysis required in the matrix (material being analyzed) that is submitted. Minimum quality control data provided by the laboratory should include:
  1. The results of analysis of spiked samples, or recovery. A known amount of the compound being analyzed for is added to the appropriate matrix. The recovery is the amount of the compound that was recovered in the analysis, and it is expressed as a percentage of the amount of compound added.
  2. A replication of results, or an agreement of analyses of duplicate samples.
  3. The results of blank samples, or an absence of the compound being analyzed for in a "clean" sample of the appropriate matrix.
  4. The results of analysis of standard reference samples. A sample with a known quantity of the compound is prepared by an independent laboratory, and this sample is then analyzed by the laboratory being evaluated.

Although good QA/QC adds to the expense of analytical work, the alternative may be an incorrect diagnosis.

Some of the analytical laboratories used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Environmental Contaminants and others include: For inorganic analyses:

Environmental Trace Substance Laboratory
University of Missouri - Rolla
101 USBM Bldg., 1300 North Bishop Ave.
Rolla, MO 65409-0530

Telephone: (314) 341-6607

Research Triangle Institute
3040 Cornwallis Road, Bldg. 6
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194

Telephone: (919) 541-6896

Geochemical & Environmental Research Group
833 Graham Road
College Station, TX 77845

Telephone: (409) 690-0095

For organic analyses:

Geochemical & Environmental Research Group (see above)
Mississippi State Chemical Laboratory
Mississippi State University
Hand Chemical Lab, Rm 201, Morrill Road
Mississippi State, MS 39762

Telephone: (601) 325-3251

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