We are a dynamic, customer focussed business providing an extensive, high quality range of laboratory tests across the species. We were the first lab in the UK to offer state of the art quantitative real-time PCR assays, and we continue to be market leaders in this field. We are an ECVCP approved training laboratory, and our qualified clinical pathologists and pathologists work with specialists at our Small Animal and Equine Referral Hospitals, providing practical, up to date advice to Veterinary Surgeons.
We offer a full range of diagnostic services with our clinical pathologists available throughout the day to provide on the spot advice for tricky cases. If you would like to consider using us as your main laboratory, contact us to find out more about our courier service and loyalty discounts.
If you require any further information or advice on a case, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org including the lab id or animal information (Name, Species, DoB etc). We aim to reply within 24 hours.
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Persistent non - regenerative anaemia
Neutropenia or thrombocytopenia where there is no obvious cause after investigation
Abnormal cells in circulation that cannot be explained
Staging of neoplasia, especially of types which often metastasize to bone marrow
Persistent hypercalcaemia that is significant and unexplained
Testing for certain organisms such as Leishmania or FeLV
Although these are the most common reasons for examining bone marrow, we can sometimes gain some information on iron stores, regeneration of red cells in horses and FeLV status in cats. There are often sensitive ways of investigating these problems without resorting to bone marrow: please call us if in doubt.
A haematology (EDTA and smear of venous blood) on the day of sampling are crucial to make sure that the fast, dynamic of supply from the marrow and the peripheral demand for the cells is understood and appreciated. Changes such as left shift and toxic change in neutrophils can completely alter the interpretation of a depleted marrow: equally, a non regenerative anaemia in the blood of an animal that has been anaemic for a week or more can help the clinical pathologist make a diagnosis of an immune mediated disease. The cost of the haematology is included in the cytology for just this reason.
Where the haematology illuminates the cytology, histopathology provides an exceptional and necessary view of the overall cellularity of the marrow, the behaviour of cells and the only chance of observing fibrosis, cytologically normal cells behaving aberrantly, megakaryocyte numbers and special stains for further discrimination. The three methods of examination are complementary and individually irreplaceable.
No blood submitted, no smears submitted
EDTA marrow aspirate only submitted - degeneration in morphology is rapid, especially in hot weather. Post mortem samples must be taken immediately. Samples for PCR only (e.g. for FeLV provirus only) are likely to be more robust.
Marrow smears un-smeared - allowing marrow to trickle without smearing the slides makes the samples too dense to see the individual cells.
Formalin fumes affecting cytology staining - please do all you can to separate cytology slide and the marrow core sample. Separate plastic bags are a minimum. Allow cytology slides to dry before packing.
Core biopsy too small or of cortical bone only - white, dense samples are less likely to yield information. In some cases, attempts from more than one site may be needed.
This is very much a matter of personal preference. The iliac crest may be easy in large dogs, but many people prefer to sample from the humerus.
International Cat Care run some “negative genetic registers” and the GCCF run some “active registers”. For cats to be placed on these registers the sample (mouth swab or blood sample) MUST be taken by a vet who confirms the cat’s identity using its microchip number. The microchip number must be written on the submission form AND sample.
We have a dedicated submission form for this purpose, which both the owner and vet must complete. The certificate will state that the cat’s identity was confirmed by a vet and you can use this to register the cat with the ICC negative or GCCF active registers.
If a breeder DOES NOT want their cat to go on these registers then they can take a mouth swab and submit it directly to the lab.
Some of the most common situations for a special stain would be performing a toluidine blue stain to evaluate the granulation of a mast cell tumour, or performing a panel of stains to search for infectious agents within a granulomatous inflammatory lesion (e.g. a Gram stain, periodic acid–Schiff stain or ZN stain). Special stains are requested after preliminary evaluation of the primary haematoxylin and eosin-stained section.
Where special stains are requested, this may add a further 24 hours to turnaround time. A panel of special stains requested by the histopathologist may not be available for review until the following day.
Note that the use of histochemical stains to search for infectious agents is a method of relatively low sensitivity. If an infectious disease is suspected, it is far better for you to submit fresh tissue or a swab for culture or PCR analysis.
Note that we will often suggest that immunohistochemistry might be helpful when we report to you on the HE-stained section, but we will only request immunohistochemistry if you confirm that your client would like to proceed with the technique.
Note that immunohistochemistry generally takes up to 2 weeks before results are available as the specialist laboratory that performs the techniques will batch samples for processing.
So, for example, sending six small samples from a case would incur a charge of £37.70 + (£9.20 x 5) £46.00 = £83.70 + VAT.
The charge for this would be £37.70 or £49.80 for small or large samples, respectively.
If you particularly wish for more margins to be evaluated, this is entirely possible at additional charge.
If you wish us to examine specific margins, these should be clearly indicated by supplying a photograph or diagram of the sample showing the margins you intend. Remember that we will not have the benefit of knowing which way the specimen is orientated in the animal, so you should indicate this by (for example) placing a suture to show (for example) which is the cranial end of the sample.
However, larger samples (e.g. larger masses the size of a small Satsuma or bigger, whole organs) or samples that are not fixed when we receive them will require a longer time to process and section before the pathologist receives the sections for interpretation. This may involve allowing a longer time for formalin to penetrate the mass, in addition to a separate automated processing cycle (a ‘long process’).
So, for example, if you send an entire spleen from a dog on a Monday, it may take until Thursday to fix properly, before a ‘long process’ over the weekend, with sectioning and reporting on the following Monday.Sample size and fixation is beyond our control and no laboratory can speed-up the processing of large samples.
This simply relates to the fact that in order to work with these tissues (particularly bone and tooth) the tissues need to be decalcified by immersion in buffer which softens the tissue so we can cut it to size for sectioning.
We will always attempt to sample areas of adjacent soft tissue within the normal time frame to provide a preliminary report.This process also applies to small samples of this type of tissue. For example, a core biopsy of bone would also require a short period of decalcification, and so even though the sample is very small, it will generally take an additional day (48 – 72 hours) for results to be available.
For our overseas clients, email is the preferred method of reporting.
If you would like to receive your results by email, please contact us with the correct email address.
Please also check your e-mail box or fax machine before telephoning!
This depends entirely on the nature and size of the sample, but the general principles are to ensure that containers of formalin are well sealed (purpose designed screw cap plastic containers are best – please do not use narrow-necked pill bottles or glass jam jars!), surrounded by absorbent material and then enclosed in a sealed plastic ziplock bag, before placing that bag into the outer packaging for postage.
Remember that the ideal fixation protocol is to place a sample in a volume of formalin that is ten times the volume of the sample.
For most smaller samples (e.g. skin punch biopsies, small excised masses, endoscopic biopsies) it is adequate to simply send the sample in the container of formalin in which they have been fixed. Small endoscopic biopsies might travel better contained within a plastic histocassette.
For larger samples, you might consider selecting specific areas of interest rather than sending an entire organ. Whilst we would prefer to see the whole organ (e.g. spleen), or at least a photograph of it, in practical terms we realize it is not always possible to ship such large samples and will rely on you for selecting areas of interest.