About Us

Who are we?

St David’s Laboratory Services Ltd is a relatively new Avian Serology Laboratory which opened in August 2011 and is based at Dungannon, County Tyrone. We offer a valuable support service to poultry vets and poultry producers across the UK and Ireland.

What we do

The laboratory carries out a range of services including avian serology, PCR and water testing.

Initially the laboratory processed approximately 200,000 tests per year which has now increased to over 500,000.

UKAS Accreditation

On 22nd November 2012 St David’s Laboratory Services Ltd was granted ISO/IEC 17025:2005 Accreditation by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). Accreditation is a formal recognition of the laboratory’s competence to perform specific tests (serological testing of poultry blood samples) by UKAS. This was granted after the laboratory had been assessed against internationally recognised standards to demonstrate its competence, impartiality and performance capability. Please click on the following link to view the UKAS Schedule (No.7617).


PCR Testing <

PCR TESTING We currently offer real-time Polymerase Chain Reaction tests for the detection of Histomonas meleagridis, and for combination Mycoplasma gallisepticum/synoviae. PCR is a molecular technique which allows rapid detection of DNA or RNA from a variety of sample types and the significant sensitivity of PCR allows detection even from low amounts of sample. Future PCR tests offered from St. David’s will include a range of important avian diseases as required by the poultry industry. Instructions for sampling: Mycoplasma gallisepticum/synoviae. Up to 5 tracheal swabs can be pooled per PCR test for a single result. Tracheal samples are tested using rayon-tipped sterile swabs with plastic applicators. To prevent inhibition of PCR results, avoid using swabs with a wooden applicator. Try to keep the swab sample free from contaminants such as food, feathers, blood, shavings and dust. After sampling, ensure that the swab is placed back into the plastic applicator and close tight. Histomonas meleagridis can be detected from dust samples or caecal tissue. Dust from up to 6 locations in an individual house can be pooled per single PCR test. Take an individual sterile universal tube for each location and fill with dust to approximately 10ml. Ensure that the tube is closed tight. Please contact us in advance if you are sending caecal samples to discuss the best way of doing so. Separate samples from each house into labelled sealed bags to avoid cross contamination. All samples submitted to the laboratory must be labelled correctly and match the details on the accompanying PCR submission form. Swabs and dust should be posted dry at room temperature within a few days of sampling. If possible, please email us when sending the samples so that we can anticipate sample arrival.

Download Polymer Chain Reaction form: PCR forms

Water Testing <

We currently offer water testing for TVC (Aerobic) and Coliform identification. TVC petrifilms are used to determine the Total Viral Count present in a water sample. Coliform petrifilms are used to highlight the total number of bacterial colonies present in a water sample. If Coliform growth is detected further testing is carried out on selective media to identify specific bacteria present in the sample.
For full potable (drinking quality water) i.e. Borehole you are required to take a 20ml sample. If taking from a tap or stopcock, remember, if it has not been opened for some time there will be a build up of bacteria present that can affect your results. Therefore, clean around the tap or stopcock, heat if possible or wipe with alcohol wipe. Allow the water to run for 1-2 minutes. Fill a sterile container to within 1cm of top. Label container and send to laboratory immediately for testing, packaged correctly to avoid any leakages. Clean around the end drinker line or nipple with an alcohol wipe. Remove bung from end of line, pipe or nipple. Run water into a bucket for 1-2 minutes and discard. Fill up sample container and then send to the laboratory immediately.

Download Water Testing form: Water Testing forms

Serology <

Serology Tests The wide range of test the laboratory offers is as follows:- Mycoplasma gallisepticum/synoviae/meleagridis by ELISA (UKAS accredited) Avian Influenza A by ELISA, and the individual strains H5 and H7 tested by HI A wide range of other ELISA tests is also available including AE,APV,BLS,THE,CAV,EDS,IBD,NDV,ILT,ORT,Adeno Gp 1 and REO Infectious Bronchitis Virus by ELISA as well as a wide panel of HI antigens. Salmonella pullorum/gallinarum by RSAT (UKAS accredited) Salmonella pullorum/gallinarum by MAT Mg/Ms/Mm by RSAT Water Aerobic/coliform
When taking your blood samples, they should ideally be at least 2ml (i.e 3/4 full) to enable adequate separation of serum back at the laboratory. Allow samples to clot at room temperature. Ensure that the lids are fitted securely. All PCR, Water and blood samples submitted to the laboratory must be labelled correctly and match the details on the accompanying submission form.

Download Serology form: Serology forms

The Team

Margaret Hardy BVet Med MRCVS

Technical Director

Jennifer O’Brien

Laboratory/Quality Manager

Allen German

Senior Technician

Joanna Curran

Laboratory Administrator

Bronagh Kearney


Hollie McCobb


Anna O’Connor

PCR Manager

Leanne Ferguson


Laura Simpson

Junior Technician



UKAS is recognised by government, to assess against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services. Accreditation by UKAS demonstrates the competence, impartiality and performance capability of these evaluators. UKAS accreditation means the evaluator can demonstrate to its customer that it has been successful at meeting the requirements of international accreditation standards. Visit the UKAS website for more information.


The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) aims to promote sustainable economic growth and the development of the countryside. The Department assists the competitive development of the agri-food, fishing and forestry sectors of the Northern Ireland economy, having regard for the need of the consumers, the welfare of animals and the conservation and enhancement of the environment.

Find Us

St David’s Laboratory Services Ltd
20 Roskeen Road,
BT71 7RG
Tel: 028 87722907
Fax: 02887 725097
E-Mail: dungannonlab@stdavids-laboratory.co.uk

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