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National Centre for Animal Disease Lethbridge

The National Centre for Animal Disease (NCAD) Lethbridge is on the traditional territories of the Niitsitapi (Blackfoot) and the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta, including the Blood Tribe (Kainaiwa), the Piikani First Nation, the Tsúùt'ínà First Nation and the Stoney Nakoda First Nations. The area is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.

About the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is a science-based regulator with a mandate to safeguard the food supply, protect the health of plants and animals, and support market access. 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 developing 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, industry, and federal, provincial and international counterparts to effectively carry out the CFIA's mandate.

Photograph - Aerial shot of the National Centre for Animal Diseases (NCAD) building in Lethbridge, Alberta

The NCAD in Lethbridge, Alberta, is part of the National Centres for Animal Disease within CFIA Science Branch, along with the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease in Winnipeg, Manitoba. 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.

Reference Laboratories

The National Centre for Animal Diseases is designated as a Reference Laboratory for the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH; founded as Office International des Épizooties (OIE)), with the following areas of expertise:

  • anthrax
  • BSE
  • BVD

WOAH 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.

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 and chronic wasting disease).

It is also a Canadian reference laboratory with expertise in:

  • EVA
  • IBR
  • BSE
  • BVD
  • leptospirosis

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 are accredited in accordance with the International Standard ISO/IEC 17025, General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. The Standards Council of Canada (SCC) provides accreditation for routine testing, test method development and non-routine testing, as identified on the laboratory's Scope of Accreditation on the SCC website. Accreditation formally verifies the CFIA's competence to produce accurate and reliable results. 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.

Physical address

National Centre for Animal Disease, Lethbridge Laboratory
225090 Township Road 91
Lethbridge County, AB
T1J 5R7

More information

Learn about other CFIA laboratories.