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Veterinary Assays of Toxins Used to Help Humans

Narrator:        This is Science Today. The California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has become adept at solving mysteries. Veterinary toxicologist Robert Poppenga says most recently, they developed assays to identify the chemical combination behind last year's deadly pet food contamination. But they also diagnose animal diseases.

Poppenga:       Most of our cases involve dairy cows, beef cows, pigs, poultry. The toxicology section here does do small animal work, so that we get involved in any suspicious animal poisoning, whether it be dog, cat, horse, cow. So, this is a wonderful resource for the animals in the state of California and animal owners because we're really at the forefront in terms of diagnosing animal disease.

Narrator:        Some times, their cases even involve humans. 

Poppenga:       Our section in toxicology actually developed an assay for the toxin in Amanita mushrooms. We have been involved in a case of toxic mushroom exposure in a family in Sacramento, using the same assays that we developed for animals.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.