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© 1989, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This NebGuide discusses the importance of submitting proper specimens to the veterinary diagnostic laboratory as an aid in diagnosing infectious diseases, feed imbalance, or animal poisoning.

To comprehend the reasons for failures in disease diagnosis at veterinary diagnostic laboratories, it is important to understand what disease is, what causes disease, how the animal resists disease (becomes immune), and what happens to the animal if disease develops and the animal does not become immune.

According to Stedmans Dictionary, disease is an interruption, cessation or disorder of body functions, systems or organs. Some diseases may be obvious to the untrained eye, but many are detected only by using sophisticated testing procedures (subclinical disease). Serious irreversible damage can occur in subclinical disease if therapeutic or preventive measures are not undertaken early. Accurate diagnosis is necessary to correct the cause of the problem.