MDS avian testing

MDS avian testing. Molecular Diagnostic Services (Pty) Ltd (MDS) is a private, SANAS-accredited laboratory based in Durban, South Africa that has, as its focus, the use of the most advanced technologies to perform molecular and genetic diagnostics in the human and veterinary fields.

Pathogen Testing

Birds are susceptible to a number of diseases.

For effective management of diseases such as Beak and Feather Disease, it is beneficial to know whether any new birds being introduced into the aviary carry the virus or not. In some cases, birds appear healthy, but they could be carriers of the virus.

MDS offers a number of tests, both as single tests that target either one or multiple pathogens e.g. a ‘cocktail’ of tests. In many cases, all that the laboratory requires is a small blood sample collected
on a DNA sample collection kit that we provide.

The Collection Kit

Although there are a few appropriate sample types for the Avian Molecular testing offered at MDS, a single blood spot on our MDS Avian Collection Kit can be used for most tests and is our preferred
sample type.

The collection kit consists of a sterile tube containing a strip of specimen collection paper and a sterile needle. A small volume of blood blotted onto the collection paper is all that is needed to perform multiple tests.

The sampling procedure is simple, non-invasive, and can be performed at the site where the animal is housed. Samples collected using our kits are stable and can be sent to us at room temperature.

Advantages of the collection kit

  • No risk of trauma from anaesthesia or surgical complications.
  • The bird does not have to be mature to be tested.
  • The bird does not have to be transported as a sample can easily be taken by the owner.
  • No special storage conditions are required once the sample has been taken.
  • Results, via email, within 2 working days of samples arriving at MDS.
  • DIY certificates are available on our Vet site for all Avian requests.
  • Possibility of more than one test being performed on the same sample.

Sample Collection Guidelines

  1. Hold the bird comfortably so that you can access the bird’s toe.
  2. Remove the unused sterile needle and prick the bird’s toe just above the claw, not the claw itself. After a few seconds, a visible drop of blood should appear (Fig1).
  3. Open the lid of the small tube and remove the white strip of specimen collection paper (always hold the part that is sticking out of the tube) (Fig 2).
  4. Press the marked tip of the paper against the fresh drop of blood. An ideal sample would fill the area below the marked line at the bottom of the paper. Too little sample may result in insufficient DNA to obtain a result.
  5. Insert the paper into the tube, with blood first. Never touch the marked tip with your fingers! Close the tube firmly. Please discard needle/lancet safely – do not return it to MDS.
  6. Write the bird’s name and ring number onto the tube’s label and then log your sample onto our secure online vet site If you are unable to print your test request, please send the RN number with your submission to link your samples to your order.
  7. Place the tubes and request sheet into the ziplock specimen bag or envelope.
  8. Please arrange with MDS for a courier collection.
MDS avian testing kit

You will receive your results via e-mail within two working days of the MDS laboratory receiving your samples. DIY certificates are available on our Vet site for all Avian requests.

About MDS

MDS was founded by Dr Denis York in 1997 and has grown to be known as a specialist molecular diagnostic laboratory focusing on:

  • Human and veterinary diseases,
  • DNA paternity and relationship testing,
  • Women’s health,
  • Genetic testing,
  • and Personalized wellness testing.

MDS has SANAS accreditation (ISO 17025:2017 and ISO 15189:2012) for a number of tests.

Much more information on the website:

Please refer to this blog post for the most common bird diseases:

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