Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN)
Dr. Kathleen Proia earned her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on physical and biomedical sciences from the University of Central Florida in 2010. Following completion of her undergraduate work, she spent her first year of veterinary studies in Dublin, Ireland at the University College, Dublin, and went on to earn her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014. While her primary area of focus in veterinary school was companion animal medicine and surgery, Dr. Proia also developed a strong interest in public health and the vital role that veterinary medicine plays in both human and environmental health.
After graduation, Dr. Proia moved to Northern Virginia where she worked as a companion animal primary care veterinarian for several years, ultimately working as a relief veterinarian at a variety of hospitals in the DC metro area. Dr. Proia’s unique experience working closely with small animal patients and their owners coupled with her passion for public health make her well-suited for her role within the FDA. Her primary focus is on case investigations related to consumer complaints regarding suspected food-borne illness.
Dr. Proia currently holds the position of veterinary medical officer in Vet-LIRN. Vet-LIRN was established in 2011 and is FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) special program. Vet-LIRN coordinates facilities, equipment, and professional expertise of government and non-government veterinary diagnostic laboratories across the country and Canada to respond to high priority chemical and microbial feed and drug contamination events.
The network provides the means for rapid response to reports of animal injury and establishes protocols to facilitate veterinary diagnostic reporting to FDA. When conducting investigations, Vet-LIRN follows specific Network Procedures for laboratories, owners and veterinarians (more on Vet-LIRN).
Dr. Proia works with laboratories, referring veterinarians, and pet owners to investigate cases of potential foodborne illness in animals. Each investigation is different and tailored to the presenting case. She reviews the animal’s medical records, obtains a dietary and environmental exposure history via an owner interview, and, if appropriate, requests additional diagnostic (blood, urine, and/or tissue) samples from the ill or deceased pet.
Case investigations often include various tests on collected animal feed or treat samples, and analysis of testing results. For example, requested tests may include bacteriology testing (including whole-genome sequencing on selected isolates), compositional analysis (e.g. taurine, thiamine, etc.), and chemical toxicology testing (e.g. toxic compounds, metals, etc.).
- Contact Information
- Kathleen Proia
- +1 (301) 796-7744
- +1 (301) 210-4685