Selection & Interpretation of Lab Tests

Subject VETS50003 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 5 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

July, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 12-Jul-2015 to 24-Jul-2015
Assessment Period End 24-Jul-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 14-Jul-2015
Census Date 17-Jul-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 20-Jul-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Approximately 40 hours per week over an intensive 2-week period
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Admission into one of

  • Master of Veterinary Public Health (EAD)
  • Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)
  • Graduate Diploma in Veterinary Public Health (EAD
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)


Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Dr Simon Firestone



Subject Overview:

Making a definitive aetiological diagnosis using methods and interpretations consistent with established world standards is a critical part in the early diagnosis of an emergency animal disease and in initiating control/eradication programs. It always relies on testing in a laboratory of samples collected from animals suspected to be infected with the infectious agent of concern. Laboratory testing and correct interpretation of test results is also important in many surveillance programs, which are conducted either to detect presence of the disease in a population or to provide evidence of absence of the disease.

This subject will combine hands-on performance of currently used laboratory tests with lectures, tutorials and workshops with real-life examples to explore the use and limitations of tests and their correct interpretation in different situations. It will provide a basic understanding of the tests to support learning in other subjects concerning diagnosis of specific diseases and general principles of epidemiology and surveillance.

(Note: This is the only subject that will require physical attendance by the student and will constitute the first module of the course. It will be co-ordinated by the University of Melbourne and taught by staff at the University, at CSIRO's Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) and at DEPI's AgriBio Laboratory (Bundoora) and the DEPI Chief Veterinary Officer's Unit (Attwood). Sections of the subject will be taught at each of these sites. It will be offered as a 2-week intensive and will involve lectures, tutorials and hands-on laboratory exercises.)

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of the subject students will have gained:

  • a general overview of the content and requirements of the MVPH program;
  • experience in collecting samples for testing and an understanding of the importance of appropriate sampling and shipping for competent testing;
  • experience and understanding of the various laboratory tests including their strengths and weaknesses; and
  • an ability to select appropriate test types for specific investigations and to interpret their results.
  • Participation in laboratory exercises (10%)
  • Participation in tutorials and workshops (15%)
  • Oral presentation - 30 minutes (20%)
  • One 2-hour written examination held at the conclusion of the residential program (55%)

Assessment will be conducted throughout the residential subject.

Prescribed Texts:

Students will use a reading list of scientific articles from the current literature, which will be provided on-line.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

On completion of this subject, students will have developed:

  • an ability to collect appropriate samples and send them safely to a laboratory;
  • an appreciation of the different information provided by different tests and how this is used in diagnosis and surveillance; and
  • an ability to communicate effectively with laboratory diagnosticians in selection and interpretation of tests.
Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)
Graduate Diploma in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)
Master of Veterinary Public Health (Emergency Animal Diseases)
Postgraduate Certificate in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)
Postgraduate Diploma in Veterinary Public Health (EAD)

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