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For Immediate Release

November 10, 2014
Steve Merritt
Public Information Officer
Montana Department of Livestock
406-444-9431

Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory Receives Full Accreditation

The Montana Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Bozeman is fully accredited for the first time since 2003.

Lab director Dr. Bill Layton received the good news late last month from the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD) accreditation committee.

“This is a significant accomplishment for the laboratory and its customers,” Layton said. “In short, the committee is equating us with other, larger accredited laboratories, many of which are associated with veterinary colleges and have the support of a university system.”

The lab, which handles a vast majority of the diagnostic samples generated by Montana veterinarians, has been on provisional accreditation due to a series of issues related to funding, the facility and the need for an improved quality management system (QMS). While some of those issues are a work in progress, Layton said the lab was able to directly address the QMS issue.

Quality management systems, Layton said, look at all processes that could affect test results, including sample collection, choice of test kits, competency of the diagnostic technicians, delivery of results, and a thousand other details.

The lab didn’t have a full-time quality manager, Layton explained, until 2011 when the position was fully funded by a grant from the USDA-National Animal Health Laboratory Network. Now, after three years of hard work, the system is “exponentially better.”

“Prior to visiting, the accreditation site visit team was skeptical regarding the laboratory being able to develop and put into practice a system in a relatively short time. After the review, the site team was impressed with the laboratory’s progress and the quality in place,” Layton said. He credits his staff for “dedicating enormous amounts of time and effort into the building and implementation of the system while still completing their daily responsibilities.”

Accreditation is important, Layton said, because it represents an independent review of the laboratory to verify that the test procedures performed meet national and global standards required for animal disease surveillance that allows for animal and animal product movement.

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