Lab 3

Blood sampling

Your pet’s blood may be obtained by one of our vets or qualified nurses to be analysed in the practice’s in house lab.  The lab is equipped with a biochemistry machine, electrolyte machine, haematology machine and centrifuge which can carry out an array of tests.

  • Blood biochemistry can be analysed to check for diseases affecting, eg the liver, the kidneys or the pancreas and to check for conditions such as diabetes mellitus.
  • Blood haematology analyses the number of different blood cells within the blood stream, giving indications of infection, anaemia and dehydration.
  • Electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and chloride (“salts” of the blood) are analysed to see if there is any decrease or increase. The results can help us decide whether your pet might need a “drip” to help correct especially low or high values.

Urine analysis

Another sample commonly tested within the lab is urine.  We can analyse the urine to check for the presence of substances such as glucose (sugar), ketones (chemicals that build up in the urine due to eg diabetes mellitus), blood and protein.  The specific gravity of the urine (ie how concentrated or dilute it is) is measured using a refractometer.  Examination of the urine under the microscope is also carried out to look for microscopic crystals and cells.


The microscope in the practice is used to look at a variety of samples including blood, urine, fur/ hair, faeces and cells from ‘fine needle aspirate’ biopsies of different tissues and organs. Samples of skin and hair can be examined to look for ectoparasites (parasites that live on the outside of the body) such as fleas, mites and lice or to diagnose different types of bacterial or fungal infections. Fine needle aspirates of masses are commonly examined to try and diagnose the type of mass by studying the cells present on the slide. These samples are often referred to the external laboratory for more skilled analysis.

External lab

There are some diagnostic laboratory tests which cannot be carried out within our in-house lab. If specific tests are required, then samples are sent to our external lab Axiom. These samples are sent via a courier who collects samples from the surgery every Monday to Friday evenings. The samples are then analysed and the results are emailed/faxed back to the surgery.