Ohio ADDL June 2020 Newsletter


Ohio Department of Agriculture   -   JUNE 2020

In this issue

- EIA Reminder

- Mulch fertilizer & dogs

- ODA ATL staff

Contact us

Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory

8995 East Main Street

Reynoldsburg, OH 43068

Phone: (614) 728-6220

Fax: (614 ) 728-6310



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Final Reminder for EIA Testing

Anne Parkinson, BS, ADDL Serology Section Head 

The USDA VS Equine Heath Team issued a new guidance document - VSG 15201.1 - for EIAV testing effective April 15, 2020. All Category II accredited veterinarians in the State of Ohio should have received five notices since November 2019 from the USDA VS Equine Health Team and Ohio’s USDA VS Area Veterinarian in Charge regarding the new guidance. The Ohio ADDL has also provided information on the new guidance in the last two monthly editions of the laboratory newsletter. PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION CAREFULLY – it contains important information regarding changes to EIAV testing that are in effect NOW. New State of Ohio forms have been updated and are available for distribution. USDA form VS 10-11 – which is dated FEB2018 – can also be used for samples coming into the Ohio ADDL. NO older forms of Ohio or USDA origin will be accepted and should be destroyed. The forms MUST be filled out completely, leaving NO field blank – or they will not be accepted for testing. If a field has no information, then use the word “NONE” to complete the field. The Ohio ADDL will only be accepting accurately and fully completed official forms with sample submissions for EIAV testing. It is also important to note that there will be NO amendments to forms 30 days AFTER the collection date – a new form and sample will need to be submitted. This guidance also applies to any online submission services such as USDA VSPS or Global Vet Link. Category II accredited veterinarians are encouraged to call the Division of Animal Health for new Ohio forms, more information, or questions on these changes at 614.728.6220. Please view the original newsletter announcement from ADDL and the complete VSG 15201.1 document issued by the USDA for additional guidance.


Yard/Garden Treatments and Threats to Pets

Dr. Diane Gerken, DVM, PhD, ABVT, ADDL Toxicologist


Mulching and application of fertilizers and pesticides are common activities at this time of the year. Ingestion of these products can be life-threatening for pets.



Mulching yard plants is popular especially this time of the year. Dogs will often investigate the mulch after it is first distributed in the landscape. Frequently dogs will attempt to ingest a mouthful of mulch. Large amounts of mulch in the mouth of a dog is particularly dangerous, as mulch is very fibrous and coarse with little water content and is not easily swallowed. Sometimes the mulch gets stuck in the back of the dog’s throat, and the dog is unable to breathe. This is a life threatening situation, and checking the dog’s throat is warranted if you see your dog struggling. If the mulch is swallowed successfully, sometimes the plant parts are in a physical form that puncture the stomach or esophagus (especially with pine-needle mulch) resulting in serious gastrointestinal problems and even death. Also, since this is very fibrous material, mulch may clump in the intestine and cause a blockage. Probably the most dangerous mulch product however is the cocoa shell mulch - very popular due to it landscape color and durability. Cocoa shells are the outer shell of the cocoa bean (source for chocolate that we all know and like to eat). Chocolate contains two compounds (theobromine and caffeine) that cause severe and life-threatening effects in dogs when ingested – vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, tremors and seizures. Ingestion of this type of mulch can be a life-threatening medical emergency.


Fertilizers and Pesticides

Many exposures to these materials occur when the home owner is actively working or applying these materials. Needless to say, do not store any of these materials where a pet can access them.

First, when applying either fertilizer or pesticides, make sure that no pet water or food bowls or pet toys are present in the area of application, as ingestion is the most common form of exposure.

Second, when mixing, diluting, measuring, or filling application devices (example – fertilizer spreaders), immediately make sure that no excess product is left in any accessible area to your pet (example – small pile of fertilizer left on the sidewalk or driveway). Pets often ingest the remainder.

Clinical signs in dogs resulting from fertilizer ingestion are vomiting, diarrhea, salivation and lethargy, but sometimes, tremors, rash or muzzle swelling does occur. These effects can be observed between minutes to hours after ingestion. The severity of the signs often depend on how much was ingested. Typically if only fertilizer was ingested, the exposure is not life-threatening.

If any pesticides are present, the exposure can be life-threatening, so monitor your pet while calling your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Hotline (888-426-4435) with the label information. Ingestion of different products may result in different types of emergency recommendations. If the animal is taken to a veterinarian for treatment, remember to take a list of all ingredients with you. Appropriate correct emergency treatment requires knowing exactly what the exposure was.

ODA ATL Staff Assist During COVID-19 Crisis

Melanie Prarat, MS, ADDL Central Receiving Section Head 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many facets of personal and work life. Closure of the horse racing tracks in Ohio, combined with staffing shortages at ADDL, culminated in three scientists from the ODA Analytical Toxicology Laboratory (ATL) spending several weeks working at the animal diagnostic laboratory.


Halie Copley graduated from Tiffin University in 2019 with a Bachelor's degree in Forensic Science and a minor in Intelligence Analysis. She has been working at the ODA since November 2019 as a Laboratory Technician 2 at ATL. When not at work, Halie enjoys anime conventions, hunting (mostly deer and pheasants), photography and video games.


Ryan Farmer, PhD, graduated from Allegheny College in 2008 with a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry. He completed his PhD in Microbiology at Ohio State University in 2013 while researching nitrogen and carbon dioxide fixation in bacteria. He has been working at the ODA for the past 4 years, analyzing horse-racing samples at ODA's ATL. In his free time, he enjoys the beauty of doing nothing and resting afterwards with his wife and cocker spaniel.


Mark Musetti, MEd graduated from Clarkson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. He also has a MEd from Ohio State University and is working toward an AAS in Creative Writing from CSCC. Mark has worked for 7 years as a Lab Scientist 2 for ATL, testing race horses on a variety of instrumentation for drugs of abuse. He also teaches and tutors math, chemistry, and test prep. In his free time, Mark enjoys playing and developing board games, including creating a hybridization of bridge and euchre (Breuchre). He also builds Lego skyscrapers, tracks hurricanes, and has written a Christian novel for teens.


ATL staff

ATL Staff, L to R: Ryan Farmer, Halie Copley


The ADDL is very thankful to the ATL employees who helped the lab maintain turnaround times and assist in critical areas of need.

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