(876) 969-1356


AVS Laboratory, conveniently located 5 minutes from Caymanas Park Racetrack, offers equine professionals access to rapid blood results and serodiagnostic services. The laboratory provides a quick turnaround for pre-race blood samples and health profiles. Veterinarians and trainers are catered for with same day service, expert comments and immediate faxing or emailing of results.

Our laboratory is headed by a highly qualified and experienced veterinary laboratory technologist who operates state-of-the-art equipment specifically designed to meet the diagnostic requirements of the equine veterinary profession.

Our fast, accurate and reliable service offers a comprehensive range of tests in most laboratory disciplines. Details of the tests are available here and by calling 998-1462 or 939-2368. Samples can be dropped off at specified locations in the Caymanas Park Racing Complex or taken to the Portmore laboratory located at Animalcare Portmore in Adventure Plaza, Portmore Town Centre.

Results are promptly forwarded by fax, telephone or e-mail. CBC results are usually available within 30 minutes. If you are not a veterinarian, and you are unable to contact your veterinarian, please do not hesitate to contact one of the veterinarians associated with the laboratory for further discussion. Where possible, reference values are given with results.

Our services include:

    6. Platelet Rich Plasma



The CBC is a cost – effective way to obtain valuable hematological information on a patient. CBCs are indicated for diagnostic evaluation of disease states, well animal screening (e.g. geriatric), and as a screening tool prior to surgery. A CBC includes total erythrocyte and leukocyte counts, packed cell volume, hemoglobin concentration, RBC indices, platelet counts and WBC differential.



Principal reasons for performing the test: To detect, evaluate, and monitor liver disease or damage. The Equine Liver Panel includes the following 6 tests: ALB, ALK, ALT, TBIL, GGT, TP.


Principal reasons for performing the test: To detect, evaluate, and monitor kidney disease or damage. The Equine Renal Panel includes the following 6 tests: ALB, BUN, CREAT, ELECTROLYES, CHOL, U/SIS.


Circumstances for choice of the profile: An economical profile tailored for screening and identification of equine health concerns. The EHP includes the following twelve (13) chemistries: ALB, ALKP, AST/SGOT, Ca2+, CK, CREA, GGT, GLOB, GLU, LDH, TBIL, TP and BUN/UREA.


Principal reasons for performing the test: To ensure the safety of the patient on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as flunixinmeglumine (Banamine) and phenylbutazone. By screening for liver and kidney damage, you can be sure that NSAID therapy is helping and not hurting the horse. NSAID Panel provides five (5) targeted test: ALK ALT, AST, BUN, and CREAT.


Principal reasons for performing the test: To help to indicate the presence of muscle injury or disease, its severity or progression. This test includes: AST, CK, GGT,GLU, LDH, and TP.


Principal reasons for performing the test: To detect muscular defects in horses that are over-trained or are stressed in training after a long period of rest. Test also has a relationship with the performance of the horse. Well-conditioned horses that are likely to win will have normal test results. This test includes: AST, CK


Principal reasons for performing the test: For the early detection and implementation of a medical management plan to address the changes associated with the aging process in older horses. The test includes: CBC, EHP, T4


This Panel assesses the horse’s fluids and electrolyte balance. Equine sweat glands are different from human sweat glands, with the result that horses lose more electrolytes during sweating than humans do.

Horses lose large amounts of both Na+ and Cl- in their sweat, with smaller losses of Ca2+ and K+. As dehydration proceeds, the horse may eventually collapse. In addition to the dehydration, a horse is also likely to have a whole body loss of electrolytes. Signs of low electrolyte levels may include nervousness, fatigue, muscle tremors, and stiffness.

By determining the fluid-electrolyte balance it is possible to adequately and accurately replace both fluid and electrolyte losses that have occurred.


The T4 baseline (also called Total T4) is routinely used for assessment of overall health and for the initial evaluation of thyroid function in the horse. It is also recommended for monitoring horses on thyroid supplementation.

Adequate levels of thyroid hormones are essential for a horse’s healthy metabolism and level of energy. Horse owners should be on the lookout for energy related symptoms, such as an overall weakness, low energy, or goiter. Metabolic changes, such as sudden spikes in weight and infertility have also been linked to hypothyroidism. Other symptoms include laminitis, loss of luster of the coat, and tendon problems in foals.



Hematology is used to examine a horse's red and white blood cell counts. The common name for evaluating these components of the horse's blood is a complete blood count or CBC. The CBC is a cost-effective way to obtain valuable hematological information on a patient.

CBCs are indicated for diagnostic evaluation of disease states, wellness screening (e.g. prior to racing), and as a screening tool prior to surgery. A CBC includes total erythrocyte and leukocyte counts, packed cell volume, hemoglobin concentration, RBC indices, platelet counts and WBC differential.



These tests detect deficiencies in the intrinsic and common coagulation pathways. Minimum laboratory data needed to evaluate hemostasis in horses include a platelet count, plasma fibrinogen, the prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin (aPTT). Primary hemostasis can be evaluated by determination of platelet numbers.

Secondary hemostasis can be evaluated by the activated partial thromboplastin (aPTT) for intrinsic and common pathway abnormalities, fibrinogen quantification for common pathway abnormalities, and prothrombin time (PT) for extrinsic and common pathway abnormalities.

The most common forms of hemostatic dysfunction in horses are DIC, consumption coagulopathy, defibrination syndrome, or intravascular coagulation fibrinolysis.



This test uses specialized stains and techniques to identify the presence of bacterial, fungal and parasitic elements in ear samples. The presence of other cellular material is also reported for a more complete assessment.


This test uses specialized stains and techniques to identify the presence of bacterial and fungal elements in skin samples. The presence of other cellular material is also reported for a more complete assessment.



This test uses Standard McMaster type slides to determine fecal egg per gram (EPG) flotation in horses. Results, therefore, may be used for quantitative checks of anthelmintic efficacy and as an indication of pasture/fodder contamination.


Urinalysis is a relatively simple, rapid, and inexpensive laboratory procedure. It provides a wealth of information about the urinary tract and other body systems. Urinalysis includes a gross examination, specific gravity, biochemical analysis and sediment examination.



A culture is done to find out what kind of organisms (usually bacteria) are causing an illness or infection. A sensitivity test checks to see what kind of medicine, such as an antibiotic, will work best. A culture is done to find out what kind of organisms (usually bacteria) are causing an illness or infection.

A culture is done by collecting a sample of fluid or tissue and then rubbing the sample onto a special plate with prepared gelatin (culture). If there are bacteria in the sample, they will grow in the culture, usually within 2 days.

A culture and sensitivity test may be done on many different body fluids, such as urine, mucus, blood, pus, saliva, milk and from swabs of abscesses and nasal discharges, as well as swabs taken from the back of the pharynx and larynx.


Tissue and fluid samples are more rewarding than swab samples for isolation of a causative agent. If possible send tissue or fluid to the laboratory. Tissue and fluid are essential for fungal and mycobacterial culture. Swabs are convenient but inferior to tissue and fluid.

The value and reliability of microbiological reports are directly affected by quality of specimens received by our laboratory and the length of time between its collection and processing. Specimens should reach the laboratory as soon as possible or a suitable preservative and transport medium must be used.

For reliable microbiological reports, it is very necessary that specimens should be collected, handled and transported properly to the laboratory. Refrigeration at 4 - 10 oC can help to preserve cells and reduce the multiplication of commensals in unpreserved specimens. However specimens for isolation of Haemophilus species, Streptococcus Pneumoniae or Neisseria species, must never be refrigerated as cold kills these pathogens.

All specimens should reach the laboratory and be processed within 24 to 48 hours. For this reason, without prior arrangement, do not send samples for microbiological processing to our Kingston Laboratory after 1 pm on a Friday as these samples have to be transported to our main laboratory in Portmore for processing.


    1. Apply strict aseptic techniques throughout the procedure.
    2. Wash hands before and after the collection.
    3. Collect the specimen at the appropriate phase of disease.
    4. Make certain that the specimen is representative of the infectious process and is adequate in quantity for the desired tests to be performed.
    5. Collect or place the specimen aseptically in a sterile and/or appropriate container.
    6. Ensure that the outside of the specimen container is clean and uncontaminated.
    7. Close the container tightly so that its contents do not leak during transportation.
    8. Label and date the container appropriately and complete the requisition form.
    9. Arrange for immediate transportation of the specimen to the laboratory.

      From time to time our laboratory will reject samples for the following reasons:
        1. Missing or inadequate identification.
        2. Insufficient quantity.
        3. Specimen collected in an inappropriate container.
        4. Contamination suspected.
        5. Inappropriate transport or storage.
        6. Unknown time delay.
        7. Haemolysed blood sample.


    The use of swabs by veterinarians is common as their patients are often far removed from a microbiology laboratory. Although swabs provide for the safe collection, transport and preservation of all types of microorganisms to the laboratory, it is important to know what swabs to use and how to store them while being transported to the laboratory.

    Plain swabs without transport medium can dry out in transport, resulting in false-negative results and should only be used for cytology or when culture can be done within a few hours. However, most swabs need to be transported in a medium to ensure viability of a wide range of bacteria for 24 to 48 hours.


        Transport media contains no growth supporting nutrients (carbohydrates, peptones or other) - The objective is to maintain viability without supporting the growth of commensal organisms.

        What medium should I use?

        Amies Clear Medium

      1. Up to 24 hours survival and is ideal for microscopy
      2. Recommended for general clinical swabbing of fastidious, non-fastidious and anaerobic microorganisms, including nasal, vaginal and wound samples
      3. Amies Charcoal Medium
      4. Up to 48 hours for transport, due to the addition of activated charcoal that absorbs toxic metabolites (like fatty acids) away from the sample
      5. Ideal for clinically significant samples and can be used to transport most fastidious and non-fastidious microorganisms
      6. This media is not suitable for anaerobic transport, despite some commercial labeling.
      7. Cary Blair Medium

    Ideal for 24 hour transport of bacteriological samples only, including gram negative microorganisms, especially Vibrio spp., Salmonella spp., Shigella spp., coliforms and most anaerobes

    Suitable for high temperature conditions or remote sampling where refrigeration is intermittent or not available

    Swabs held in a cool environment maintain a higher level of viability for most microorganisms so most samples should be refrigerated if any delay is envisaged in transit to the laboratory. However, some microorganisms are sensitive to cold so ideally swabs should be kept cool but not cold.

    If using an ice pack when transporting samples, the ice pack should not come into direct contact with the swab. For example swabs can be loosely wrapped in many layers of newspaper and placed into a plastic bag before placing into a cool box containing ice packs.

    In horses, elongated swabs often are needed to reach the sample site. Such swabs generally have an outer protective sleeve to prevent contamination when the swab must be passed through areas with normal bacterial flora or surface contaminants.

    These swabs should be placed in an appropriate transport system by replacing the transport swab with the elongate swab, which is trimmed to an appropriate length to fit the transport tube. Always remember that the value of any sample in a clinical diagnosis will depend on the care you take in preserving the viability of any microorganisms contained within it, so that they can be successfully cultured.


    We provide comprehensive professional necropsy and biopsy diagnostic services. The Anatomic Pathology Service is headed by a veterinarian with a doctoral degree in pathology and who is Jamaica’s only veterinary anatomic pathologist. We see species of all types and sizes, from horses to baby chicks. Deceased animals are examined grossly and microscopically to determine the cause of death and characterize other underlying diseases. Biopsies are examined to determine the nature of the disease so that appropriate treatment can be administered.


    PRP is a product that is derived from a horse’s own blood. Platelets are loaded with numerous growth factors that are released upon platelet activation. Large amounts of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-ß1) and platelet derived growth factor and smaller amounts of insulin-like growth (IGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF) and TGF- ß2 are released upon activation. These growth factors and others act synergistically to enhance access of healthy inflammatory cells to the area of tissue injury, formation of new blood vessels, formation of new connective tissue and regeneration of skin.

    The goal of treatment with PRP is to accelerate and improve the quality of healing. Slow or poor quality healing of bones, tendon & ligaments and other soft tissues are common clinical problems in horses. Injuries of the extremities are the most susceptible to prolonged healing, exuberant granulation tissue, boney non-union and sequestration and infection and are common injuries of athletic horses, resulting in significant economic loss to the equine industry. Recently veterinarians have begun to use PRP intra-articular to treat osteoarthritis.

    AVS Laboratory prepares PRP for veterinarians who seek to use available regenerative therapies to benefit their patients.


    AVS Laboratory offers reference laboratory investigations through our partnership with IDEXX Laboratories, one of the largest veterinary reference laboratories in the United States. This convenient and reliable service provides veterinarians with cost effective means, specific and relevant to veterinary medicine, that allow you to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis and confidently direct treatment.

    A wide range of reference laboratory services is now available to you with the convenience of short turnaround times. Services available include, but are not limited to, the following:

      1. Biopsy with/without Microscopic Description
      2. Bone Marrow Cytology with Microscopic Description
      3. Fluid Analysis with Cytology
      4. Crystallographic Stone Analysis
      6. Complete Equine Endocrine Profile
      7. Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) by Western Blot or PCR
      8. Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA)
      9. Equine Neurologic Panel
      10. Streptococcus equi
      11. Equine Influenza Virus (EIV/H3N8)
      12. Equine Herpesvirus Type 1 - PCR

    Samples are shipped to our overseas reference laboratory once per week, usually on Tuesdays. For an additional charge emergency stat shipping is also available. Please call for specimen requirements for any test or for information on other available tests that you might wish to perform.

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