August 5, 2005 | By: Haven Miller

With capitol construction funds of $8.5 million now in hand, plans to improve the University of Kentucky’s Livestock Disease Diagnostic Center (LDDC) are moving forward.

The money was authorized last spring by Kentucky’s General Assembly, and will be used to construct a new necropsy laboratory and associated structures.

The LDDC is the primary facility in central Kentucky for performing tests and diagnosing diseases in horses, cattle and other animals. It is one of the busiest labs of its kind in the nation, ranking third in total necropsies in a recent survey of 20 labs.

“Construction will begin very soon to provide additional space, which is greatly needed to enable the center to do its extremely valuable work,” said Nancy Cox, associate dean for research in the College of Agriculture.

In addition to the new necropsy lab, plans are under way to install this winter the first of two 10,000-pound alkaline tissue digesters for carcass disposal. 

The university recently purchased new equipment for the center using fee income and grant dollars. Purchases include new microscopes, centrifuges and freezers.

As part of a system upgrade, the LDDC plans to implement national standards to enable electronic communication of selected clinical case data to the Kentucky state veterinarian’s office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

“We applaud these efforts by our university administrators and our Kentucky lawmakers to support this laboratory that serves a vital function not only for the state’s equine industry, but to animal breeders and owners throughout the state and region,” said David Switzer, executive director of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association.

“The livestock industry is going to demand high-quality services, and it’s important for us to have a well-equipped, well-funded state-of-the-art diagnostic lab,” said Dave Maples, executive vice president of the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association. 

In July, LDDC director Lenn Harrison testified before the legislature’s Interim Joint Subcommittee on Horse Farming about the lab’s future needs. The university will be requesting $13.5 million from the state legislature to accommodate further accreditation requirements and better meet the needs of the livestock industry.


Writer: Haven Miller 859-257-4736, ext. 272
Contact: Nancy Cox, 859-257-3333