The City University of Hong Kong has invested $25 million to set up the CityU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (CityU VDL), which is one of the most comprehensive and advanced veterinary diagnostic laboratories currently in Asia. In addition to providing a comprehensive veterinary diagnostic service to the veterinary community of Hong Kong and the region, CityU VDL will become an important training ground for the Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (BVM) programme, contributing to veterinary pathology teaching and research. CityU VDL commenced operations on 4 December 2017.
A subsidiary of City University, CityU VDL is operated by specialist veterinary diagnosticians, following the training and standards set by the Animal Health Diagnostic Center of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. The specialist veterinary diagnosticians come from New Zealand, Australia and the United States and they possess more than 20 years of experience each working in commercial laboratories and are specifically trained to undertake animal biopsy and post mortem examinations. Currently, CityU VDL has 26 staff members, making it one of the biggest diagnostic teams in Hong Kong.
CityU College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences (CVMLS) Dean and Chair Professor, Prof. Michael Reichel said: “We have specialist veterinary pathologists based in Hong Kong to supervise all testing and diagnose diseases locally, giving us an advantage in providing a comprehensive, high quality veterinary diagnostic service that can be delivered in a timely manner.” Veterinarians will no longer have to send samples for testing overseas and then have to wait for 10 to 14 days for results. CityU VDL will, on average, take only 1 to 4 days to conduct tests and to provide results, thus reducing time, cost, and ultimately providing better service that can save lives.
Director of CityU VDL, Dr Fraser Hill, said the College of Veterinary Medicine and Life Sciences aims to provide a world-class education and training in veterinary medicine, and CityU VDL will support veterinary pathology training and diagnostic training of the students. He said: “Diagnostic training is a crucial element for veterinary students in Hong Kong. CityU VDL plays a key role in the BVM programme.” VDL will also collaborate with veterinary and medical researchers on diagnosis and research into zoonotic diseases under the “One Health” concept.
CityU VDL houses a wide range of cutting-edge equipment, and is able to conduct advanced techniques including the advanced staining of cancer cells for rapid animal cancer diagnosis, the latest and most advanced technology for bacteria and fungi identification and rapid pathogen identification using molecular methods. Using the latest equipment, CityU VDL will be able to identify suitable and effective antibiotics to treat bacterial infection, and conduct full blood analysis of many animal species. From now on, local veterinary practitioners and clinics can send samples directly to CityU VDL for testing to be conducted locally, avoiding the need to send them overseas.
CityU VDL is the first commercial veterinary diagnostic laboratory in Hong Kong to be equipped with a unique facility – a post-mortem room. Pet owners and farmers can request a post-mortem examination through their veterinary clinic to find out the cause of death of their animals or livestock.