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Laboratory Testing


Our lab is equipped with a high powered microscope, equipped with a 100x magnification, oil emersion lens. This is an essential piece of equipment which we all use several times a day to help with diagnosis of many different diseases including:-

Parasites – mites (including mange, ear and fur mites), lice, fleas and a variety of other parasitic insects can be detected and identified using microscopy of skin scrapings and fur brushings. The eggs of gastrointestinal parasites can be detected and identified in faecal preparations.

Ear infections – microscopy of ear wax helps us decide on the best treatment for ear disease as it helps differentiate between bacterial, fungal, parasitic or inflammatory ear conditions.

Timing for mating – Microscopy of a vaginal smear helps us decide what stage of the oestrus cycle a bitch is in which provides information on the best time to mate. For more accurate timing of mating we need to perform blood progesterone testing. Microscopy helps us make decisions on the best time to start monitoring blood progesterone.

Semen evaluation – When performing artificial insemination we use microscopy to assess the quality of the semen

Cytology of lumps and organs – microscopy of a few cells collected from a skin growth or abdominal organ, using a fine needle, often allows us to make a diagnosis on site without the need to send samples to a pathology lab.

Joint fluid – microscopy of synovial fluid collected directly from a joint allows us to determine if there is joint infection or immune mediated disease present.

Bronchoalveolar lavage – For diagnosis of lung diseases we often need to collect a few cells from the lung by instilling and then aspirating saline from the lung tissue. Using this technique we can differentiate between asthma, lung worm, bacterial, fungal, neoplastic (cancer), immune mediated and other diseases.

Cerebrospinal fluid – In cases of severe neurological disease such as meningitis we are able to collect a sample of fluid from the base of the skull for microscopic evaluation.

Blood Testing

For the convenience of our clients and to help with the rapid diagnosis of disease we have equipped our laboratory with an IDEXX Catalyst Dx serum biochemistry analyser and an IDEXX ProCyte Dx Haematology analyser. Both of these are state of the art analysers offering accurate and rapid results. The ability to perform in-house tests means no waiting time for samples to be posted to an outside laboratory. In an emergency situation this can mean the difference between life and death.

Sick Animal ProfileApart from clinical examination of your pet one of the most helpful diagnostic tools we can use to help determine the cause of your pet’s illness is to run a range of blood tests. These tests help us pinpoint which organs are affected and give clues as to the underlying cause of disease.  Blood tests help us make decisions on what further tests, such as xray, ultrasound or biopsy might be necessary.
Some blood tests are very specific for certain infectious diseases such as canine parvovirus or feline immunodeficiency virus. The ability to make a rapid diagnosis of contagious disease helps us manage the situation to avoid outbreaks of disease.

Pre-anaesthetic health screen- We are able to perform a pre-anaesthetic health screen blood tests directly before your pet is anaesthetised or sedated. This improves overall anaesthetic safety as it alerts us to any health issues that may need special precautions during anaesthesia.

General Health screenIt is a good idea to have a routine health screen blood test performed on your pet once a year to alert your vet to any early health problems that are developing. The earlier a disease is detected the more successful the treatment is likely to be.  The older your pet is, the more important it is to perform a yearly blood test. Our ‘Grey Paws’ scheme for senior pets is designed with just that in mind.

NSAID Health Screen- Pets with arthritis are often treated for pain relief, long-term, using non-steroidal antinflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) such as Rimadyl , Metacam, Previcox. Trocoxil. Pets on long-term NSAID therapy require periodic blood testing for monitoring of liver and kidney function to ensure the body is coping well with long-term therapy.

Therapeutic monitoring- Many pets are on long-term medication and it is important to monitor the effectiveness of treatment by analysing markers specific for that disease. Therapeutic monitoring tests we can perform the same day on-site include:

  • Phenobarbitone levels for monitoring pets with epilepsy
  • T4 (thyroid hormone) for monitoring pets with thyroid issues
  • Fructosamine and glucose for monitoring diabetic pets
  • Cortisol for monitoring pets with Cushings or Addisons disease.
We offer a full range of other diagnostic tests performed off-site through NZ Veterinary Pathology (www.nzvp.co.nz) based at Massey University. For most tests we receive an answer within 24hrs.

A fast and accurate diagnosis is always the first step toward recovery and better health. With an in-house REM blood analyser, your pet’s blood tests can often be diagnosed without delay so that the best possible treatment plan can begin immediately. This life-saving service is especially useful on weekends, public holidays or at other times when our external laboratory service is unavailable.

We can tell a lot about the health of your pet from a simple urine sample. In conjunction with a clinical examination of your pet a routine urinalysis can help determine if your pet has:
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cushing's disease
  • Urinary tract infection or inflammation
  • Bladder stones or crystals
With the combined use of our urinary refractometer (to measure urine concentration), microscope (for looking at cells, bacteria and crystals), biochemistry analyser and urine test strips we can perform most of the urine analysis rapidly within our clinic. If tests suggest infection we often need to send a urine sample away for culture to determine which is the best antibiotic to use for treatment.