National Centre for Animal Diseases Lethbridge

Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is responsible for delivering federally mandated programs for food inspection, plant and animal health. The Agency relies on high-quality, timely and relevant science as the basis of its program design and regulatory decision-making. Scientific activities inform the Agency's understanding of risks, provide evidence for the development of mitigation measures, and confirm the effectiveness of these measures.

CFIA scientific activities include laboratory testing, research, surveillance, test method development, risk assessments and expert scientific advice. Agency scientists maintain strong partnerships with universities, federal, provincial and international counterparts, as well as industry, in order to effectively carry out the CFIA's mandate.

National Centre for Animal Diseases

The National Centre for Animal Diseases in Lethbridge, Alberta, is part of the National Centres for Animal Disease. The facility was first opened in 1905 – the same year Alberta became a province – by the North West Mounted Police and remains an integral part of the CFIA.

Contributing to the health of animals through diagnostic testing and research initiatives, the laboratory provides vital services to complete required tests for the export of animals and animal products.

What we do


  • Diagnostic testing is performed for animal diseases including: bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), bovine viral diarrhea (BVD), brucella, equine viral arteritis (EVA), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR), leptospirosis, rabies and scrapie.

OIE Reference Laboratory

  • The laboratory is designated as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reference laboratory for anthrax, BSE and BVD. It is also the Canadian Reference Laboratory for EVA, IBR, BSE, BVD and leptospirosis. OIE Reference Laboratories are designated to pursue the scientific and technical problems that relate to a specific disease or topic. Its role is to function as a centre of expertise and standardisation of diagnostic techniques for its designated disease.Footnote1.
  • The reference laboratory is involved in cutting-edge research and training of highly skilled personnel from countries all over the world. In addition, the laboratory leads an international team on ground-breaking research on prion diseases (e.g. BSE, chronic wasting disease, and scrapie).

Centre for Vector-Borne Diseases

  • The Lethbridge Laboratory is the CFIA's designated Centre for Vector-Borne Diseases. The laboratory also focuses on developing partnership with national and international vector borne disease research laboratories with the common goal of networking and collaborating on research.


  • Scientists and specialists conduct several genomic research initiatives targeted at supporting and enhancing animal health.

Quality management

All CFIA laboratories have demonstrated conformance to ISO/IEC 17025, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. The Standards Council of Canada evaluates our laboratories against this international standard, as a formal verification of the CFIA's capability to produce accurate and reliable results, within our accredited scope of testing. The results are supported by the development, validation and implementation of scientific methods, conducted by highly qualified personnel, using reliable products, services, and equipment, in a quality controlled environment. Participation in international proficiency testing programs further demonstrates that our testing is comparable to laboratories across Canada and around the world.

For further information

National Centre for Animal Diseases, Lethbridge Laboratory
Township Road 9-1, Postal Box 640
Lethbridge, AB T1J 3Z4

Learn about other CFIA laboratories.

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