Message from the State Veterinarian

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

ODA banner updated 2018 700x145

Guidance Regarding Animal Testing


I hope this message finds you and your family well and safe. The COVID-19 experience has had a tremendous impact on the world and everyone’s lives. The COVID-19 story progresses and evolves day-by-day. Veterinarians are becoming increasing involved with the issues and questions surrounding the testing of animals for COVID-19. The purpose of this message is to provide you with information and guidance regarding testing of animals.

Earlier this week (April 15) the OVMA sent out an e-news notification regarding SARS-CoV-2 testing in animals. Some of you are not OVMA members and may not have received the information, please view the Guidance Document for COVID-19 Testing of Animals.

Briefly, Oregon is using the One Health model that the rest of the nation is following to provide information to stakeholders. The Oregon Health Authority and the Oregon Department of Agriculture have teamed up to generate information that is specific for Oregon but still aligns with national guidelines. There is to be no random testing of animals mainly to conserve testing reagents for human testing and the science (so far) does not support widespread testing of animals. That said, we do acknowledge and will support testing under certain conditions.

The justifications for testing include:

1.Clinical work-up with appropriate diagnostic testing has ruled out common causes of the patient’s signs of disease AND history strongly suggests exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

  1. Atypical pattern of disease suggesting a novel pathogen present in a mass care situation, such as an animal shelter, and common causes of illness have been ruled out by appropriate diagnostic testing. Testing results shall be provided with the application.
  2. Atypical pattern of disease suggesting SARS-CoV-2 present among recently imported animals, and common causes of illness have been ruled out by appropriate diagnostic testing. Testing results shall be provided with the application.

All animal testing must be approved prior to testing. If you feel you have a good reason to test an animal then please contact Dr. Emilio DeBess, State Public Health Veterinarian. He will triage the call and decide if the case meets COVID-19 testing criteria. If he does, then he will contact me (State Animal Health Official) and we will discuss. If we are both in agreement then the veterinarian will be given instructions on sample collection and will be authorized to submit the sample to the OSU-Oregon Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Corvallis. The use of out of state laboratories must also receive prior approval. 

You should know that Idexx and Antech Diagnostics are two private commercial labs that are not offering commercial COVID-19 testing at this time. They are however, doing certain internal surveillance testing. Any positive test results will be handled like a state or university lab where they will forward the sample to NVSL for confirmation. You can read their COVID-19 testing policies at their websites:

If you would like to submit a case for COVID-19 testing, please use the request form

Your clients will also have questions about the risk of their animals developing sickness by being in a COVID-19 positive household. Please refer to the pertinent information provided by CDC:

The COVID-19 story changes fast and we will do our best to keep you informed of Oregon-related issues. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions.


Best regards,



Brad R. LeaMaster, DVM, MS, PhD

State Veterinarian

Oregon Dept of Agriculture