Posts by:

Martin Buckner

Itchy Dog Update

Last year we featured a post on Spencer, our Business Development Manager Alastair Jack’s beautiful Labrador. Spencer was diagnosed with atopic dermatitis and using the VPG’s serological allergy screening service, we could formulate a tailored vaccine for immunotherapy.

Spencer was a markedly pruritic dog with generalised ventral hyperpigmentation, and frequent, painful flare-ups. He has been on immunotherapy for 3 years and has now been able to reduce and eventually stop treatment with Apoquel®, in place of a monthly vaccine. Alastair reports he seems much happier in himself, he itches very rarely and no longer gets flare-ups.

Brilliant news for Spencer and great to see first hand how the VPG’s allergy screening can transform the lives of our beloved canine friends at this itchy time of year!

If you want to read more about our improved new offering in allergy testing, please contact the lab to discuss with one of our Clinical Pathologists.

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Our Allergy Panel Service is Changing

From the 1st of September 2023 VPG is excited to be able to offer PAX allergy service with IgE testing specifically designed for the veterinary industry.

 

What is PAX Allergy testing?

PAX Allergy testing offers better identification of allergen cross reactivities than traditional ELISA testing, as well as CCD blocking, and over 200 allergen extracts and molecular components. PAX allergy provides identification of “primary” sensitising allergens, cross reactivities, and a selection of relevant allergens for specific immunotherapy.

This is a state-of-the-art molecular approach to the detection of sensitisations, whereby defined single allergen components are used for the determination of specific IgE, in place of traditionally used whole allergen extracts. This provides a higher level of standardisation and enables more precise identification of IgE sensitisations.

We test for over 50 environmental allergens and over 37 food allergens relevant to the UK and Eire.

We also offer free sample storage (for 3 months) so that samples can be taken at the time of onset and then stored pending future testing. We aim to report results within 7 days from sample receipt.

 

Will my allergy screening results look different?

There will be some change to the format of results: Where initial screening is positive, the expanded panel will provide both a grading and concentration for specific allergens, rather than a traditional titre. These results will be interpreted by our clinical pathologists alongside the relevant history and details provided. Results will be reported through Pathport and in a PDF format via email.

Please contact the lab to discuss with a pathologist if you have any questions.

 

VPG panels available:

 

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Histopathology: What you need to know in practice

Histopathology processing is a crucial and intricate procedure that involves multiple steps. Throughout each step, there is a risk of introducing artefacts that can affect the accuracy of the results. In this blog, we will provide you with essential tips to help you mitigate these risks and ensure reliable histopathological analysis.

Sampling

When dealing with small tissue samples, crush artefacts can occur, even with careful sampling. To minimize this issue, we recommend taking multiple samples. This approach increases the chances of obtaining representative tissue sections. For example, one study on gastrointestinal biopsy sampling reported a minimum of 6 mucosal biopsy specimen of adequate quality from the duodenum of cats are required for a reliable histopathological evaluation with an optimum of 10-15 biopsies. (Willard MD, Mansell J, Fosgate GT, et al. Effect of sample quality on the sensitivity of endoscopic biopsy for detecting gastric and duodenal lesions in dogs and cats. J Vet Intern Med. 2008;22:1084-1089.)

Transportation can cause fragmentation, especially with friable samples. To protect such samples during transit, it is advisable to use histology cassettes, which can be ordered from VPG via your local laboratory.

Avoid using foam inlays for fresh tissue, as they can lead to crush artifacts.

Crush artefact
Histology cassettes

For complex samples like legs or jaws, it can be beneficial to the lab if the surgeon marks the sample for orientation and highlights regions of particular interest (for example the area of the lesion, if not obvious, or an area of specific concern regarding adequate margins). Blot the tissue dry, apply surgical ink to the desired area, wait for five minutes, and then immerse the tissue in formalin.

Fixation

To achieve optimal fixation, use 10% neutral-buffered formalin (NBF). The buffering agent reduces the formation of “formalin pigment,” which can interfere with accurate analysis. The histology containers that you can order via VPG are already prefilled with 10% NBF.

Never freeze the sample before fixation or send it in alcohol or saline. These methods are not suitable and will cause significant artefact.

Ideally, maintain a 10:1 formalin-to-sample volume ratio during fixation. However, if that is not feasible, ensure that the sample is at least covered with formalin.

We recommend a fixation time of 24 to 48 hours. Prolonged fixation without cutting the sample further will not improve fixation in the centre.

For larger samples, carefully consider cutting them to enhance formalin penetration. However, exercise caution to avoid destroying the lesion or the margins that need assessment.

Shipment of Sample

Always use containers of appropriate size to prevent impairing fixation and deforming the sample. Squeezing samples into containers that are too small can adversely affect margin assessment.

Ensure that the container is leak-proof and shatter-proof. If possible, include absorbent material in the packing materials surrounding the container.

Use individual containers for each sample or site to allow for correct sample/ site identification throughout the process.

Keep cytology samples separate from histology samples, as formalin fumes can cause severe artefact in cytology samples.

For large samples, fix them in formalin for 24 hours in a container of sufficient size. Blot dry and place them in a plastic bag, then insert the bag into a shipment bag. It is advisable to double-bag for added security.

Alternatively, if the sample is too large to fit into one container, cut it into pieces that fit into two or more containers. Make detailed notes or draw a diagram to ensure accurate assessment, especially when margins need to be evaluated. If margins are not important, sending representative samples is a good alternative.

Spleens often have a thick capsule that hampers proper formalin penetration. To enhance fixation, either make incisions through the capsule if fixing for 24 hours in practice or sample five regions from the periphery of a discrete mass (along with a section of “normal” spleen). This strategy significantly improves the detection probability of haemangiosarcoma, if present, to 95%. Please take care to sample the transition area between a mass and ‘normal’ spleen, otherwise it is possible that only reactive lesions (e.g. the central haematoma in a haemangiosarcoma) are represented in the samples.

‘Formalin pigment’ (acid hematin)
An example of a well packaged sample

Submission Form and Relevant Patient History

Along with the submission form containing the animal details, it is essential to provide the relevant patient history. Include a description of the lesions, their distribution, timeframe, and any previous or ongoing treatment, particularly antibiotic and steroid usage.

Include any relevant photos, imaging results, blood results, and cytology results from other labs, as they can aid in accurate interpretation.

Specify your clinical differential diagnoses and the specific questions you want the histopathology report to address.

Interpreting the Pathology Report

We will always strive to give you a definitive diagnosis. However, in some cases, for various reasons this may not be possible. In those cases we will provide an opinion on the most likely diagnosis, possible differential diagnosis, and discuss further diagnostic tests if applicable. In particular in cases with some uncertainty regarding the diagnosis, it is important to compare to the clinical picture, list of clinical differential diagnoses, and results of other tests (e.g. imaging) that you may have done. We are always happy to discuss any discrepancies.

By following these guidelines and ensuring proper handling, fixation, and shipment of samples, you can enhance the accuracy and reliability of histopathological analysis.

For more information on our histopathology services please visit our website or contact us by calling 0117 951 1283 or emailing [email protected].

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International Cat Day

Did you know that today (8th August 2023) is International Cat Day?

At the Veterinary Pathology Group (VPG) we offer a number of tests that can help to diagnose a number of common feline diseases.

Below we have highlighted a small number of the tests that we provide.

Hyperthyroidism:

  • Total T4 Feline
  • Free T4
  • Total T4 Pre and Post
  • EASILAB Feline Screen Plus T4
  • Thyroid Monitoring*
  • Old Cat Profile*

Kidney Disease:

  • Feline Screen*
  • SDMA
  • Renal Profile
  • EASILAB Urine Screen (and culture)
  • Renal Monitoring

FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis):

  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis Profile
  • FIP PCR
  • Feline Coronavirus (FIP) serology

FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus):

  • FeLV Proviral DNA
  • FeLV Antigen
  • FelV Antibody

FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus):

  • FIV Antibody
  • FIV Proviral DNA

Intestinal Diseases:

  • Feline Intestinal Profile*
  • Lipase (DGGR)
  • Feline Diarrhoea PCR
  • Faecal Analysis

Seizures:

  • Feline Seizure Profile*
  • Extensive General Screen +/- Ethylene Glycol

* EASILAB versions of these tests are also available

For a full list of our tests or for more information on our services email us, please contact us by emailing [email protected] or by visiting our website

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Case of the Month: August 2023

Gemma, a 10 year old FN golden retriever

Clinical history:

Presented with seizures.

No abnormalities were found on examination of cerebrospinal fluid and serological screening for Toxoplasma sp. and Neospora sp. were negative. Haematology and biochemistry was within normal limits, including bile acid stimulation test. A CT scan was performed to look for extra-cranial causes of the seizures and identified a mass in the left adrenal gland.

 

Cytology:

Cytological evaluation of the mass showed moderate cellular yield with many cells present as free nuclei which were often in a palisading arrangement, rarely in acinar-like formations. Cells that were intact appeared rounded to occasionally polygonal in shape and occasionally formed clusters. Nuclei were uniformly round with smooth to focally clumped chromatin and occasionally a prominent nucleolus. Moderate anisocytosis and anisokaryosis was apparent. No overt inflammation or infection was identified.

Interpretation:

Consistent with adrenal medullary tumour; phaeochromocytoma

Figure 1. Typical appearance of a neuroendocrine tumour, in this case canine phaeochromocytoma
Figure 2. Free nuclei in a palisading arrangement

But why?

The tendency for neoplastic cells to present as ‘free nuclei’ on cytology is typically attributed to neuroendocrine tumours, although some carcinomas will have a ‘neuroendocrine appearance’. ‘Rowing-up’ or ‘pallisading’ arrangement is a feature of such populations and often cells will form ‘acinar-like’ arrangements or ‘rosettes’. For adrenal tumours, this appearance supports a diagnosis of adrenal medullary neoplasia, most likely a phaeochromocytoma. This case was a bit tricky, as the clustering behaviour seen was more prominent than expected; further confirmation of the diagnosis with measurement of urine catecholamines or with histopathology was advised. Elevated urine metanephrine levels supported the diagnosis.

Figure 3. More nuclear palisading!
 

A bit about canine phaeochromocytomas:

This is a tumour that develops from chromaffin cells in the adrenal medulla. In dogs they are usually benign but may be locally invasive. Occasionally metastases is reported in regional lymph nodes, liver and lungs. Chromaffin cells are responsible for secreting catecholamine hormones (epinephrine and norepinephrine). Some phaeochromocytomas will produce excessive levels of these hormones that may lead to clinical symptoms, most prominently the effects of systemic hypertension. Presenting history may be non-specific (restlessness, weakness, collapse, PUPD).  Elevated catecholamines in the urine (or plasma) can help to support a diagnosis, however not all tumours are functional and release of hormones may be episodic. In non-functional tumours, symptoms may relate to local tissue compression or invasion by the tumour as it grows. If measurement of catecholamines is not informative then cytological evaluation is a reliable way to differentiate phaeochromocytoma from adrenocortical tumours in dogs. However imaging and histopathology is needed to assess the biological behaviour of the tumour and whether there is local invasion at a macroscopic and a microscopic level. It is also important to consider the potential risks with aspiration of adrenal medullary tumours when approaching sampling, since manipulation and aspiration could lead to acute systemic effects of catecholamine release or potential bleeding. Measurement of urine normetanephrine can be a useful initial tool for investigation where phaeochromocytoma is suspected, before more invasive procedures are undertaken.

 

Figure 4. Intact cells varying from rounded to polygonal in shape
Figure 5. Clustering arrangements are not a typical feature of canine phaeochromocytoma but were observed in this case
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Unlocking the Power of Haematology

In the world of haematology, the morphological evaluation of blood film is an indispensable cornerstone. Its significance cannot be overstated, as it uncovers fundamental abnormalities that automated analysers often miss.

From the basics of identifying platelet clumping to more advanced morphological irregularities in red cells, such as spherocytes, schistocytes, dacrocytes, and other abnormal forms, these serve as crucial indicators of underlying serious diseases. Significant  abnormalities in nucleated cells, including neutrophil toxicity, lymphocyte reactivity, and the presence of atypical or neoplastic populations, are  also brought to light only through this meticulous examination.

Beware of relying solely on automated results without blood film examination. Such reports are incomplete at best and, at worst, contain erroneous or misleading information.

At the Veterinary Pathology Group (VPG), we differentiate ourselves by meticulously examining every single blood film smear from all haematology submissions. Rest assured that our haematology results are thorough and comprehensive.

To ensure the utmost accuracy, it is crucial to submit a fresh blood film with each haematology submission. While we do prepare and review a film in our lab from any submitted sample, having a fresh smear is advantageous.

By submitting a FRESH blood smear alongside your haematology submission, you not only enhance the precision and usefulness of the haematology report, but you also minimize the risk for inconclusive reports.

For a step-by-step guide on creating a blood smear, please visit our website.

For further information on our cutting-edge haematology services, please reach out to your local laboratory. If you’re interested in scheduling a training session to enlighten your staff about the immense value of blood film examination, we’re here to support you.

Unleash the true potential of haematology with VPG: Where Accuracy and Expertise Meet.

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VPG BRUCELLA UPDATE

In the last few years, cases of canine Brucellosis in the UK have been on the rise. Whilst this remains an uncommon disease in the UK; there is a need for The VPG to address our approach to the handling of samples in patients at increased risk of infection, as this is a zoonosis and poses a potential risk to our laboratory staff. The vast majority of infection is seen in dogs that have originated abroad. Currently there is no specific guidance for testing of dogs from Ireland but in order to minimise risks to our colleagues in our Irish lab, we would ask that relevant travel history is indicated at the time of sample submission.

What is Brucella canis:

Brucella canis, the primary cause of canine brucellosis, is an intracellular Gram negative bacterium. Dogs and other wild canids are the natural reservoir host, but it poses a zoonotic risk to owners, veterinary staff and laboratory personnel. Canine Brucellosis can lead to a variety of symptoms including reproductive tract signs (orchitis, epididymitis, abortion, vulval/preputial discharge, testicular atrophy, infertility) but also discospondylitis, uveitis, polyarthritis, and eningoencephalitis. However, most infected dogs are subclinical yet can remain a vehicle of disease transmission.

The predominant route of dog-to-dog transmission is through coitus and by vertical transmission from dam to offspring. However, the organism is shed in all body secretions and infection can arise from direct contact between mucocutaneous sites and the secretions, excretions and tissues of infected dogs (including urine and milk).

Submission of samples to VPG from dogs with a travel history

If the patient has a travel history outside the UK or was initially imported from a foreign country, please tick the relevant box on the submission form. If known, give details of the countries involved and import dates where possible. This highlights the potential risk to our laboratory personnel and extra precautions can be adopted when handling these samples.

Ideally, travelled dogs will have been previously screened for Brucellosis using the APHA serology tests. Test results can then be included on the VPG submission form allowing samples to be handled as normal. We ask where possible to state the test method used.

  • Biochemistry/Haematology/ Endocrinology/Serology: We are able to perform routine biochemistry, haematology, endocrinology, serology etc on samples from travelled dogs. Please still mark the submission form as a travelled dog as extra precautions and additional PPE are adopted when handling these samples.
  • Cytology/Histopathology: We are able to perform cytology and histology on samples from travelled dogs. Most histopathology samples with a zoonotic risk (such as Brucella) will be fixed for a further 24 hours upon receipt at the laboratory. Please still mark the submission form as a travelled dog as extra precautions and additional PPE are adopted when handling these samples.
  •  Microbiology: For health and safety reasons, bacterial culture may not be possible on certain samples as potential multiplication of Brucella organisms during the culture process poses the biggest risk to laboratory personnel.

Our aim is to limit disruption to the service we offer our clients on samples with minimum risk, whilst maximising safety for our staff when handling high risk samples.

Routine urinalysis, faecal analysis, and skin scrapes can be performed using extra precautions but bacterial culture will depend on the site:

Very high risk samples: Reproductive swabs/fluids (e.g. prostatic wash, vulval/preputial discharge, aborted material) from patients with a travel history will NOT be cultured at the VPG unless the patient has a combined negative Brucella canis SAT and iELISA test (VPG code: BRUCSI) from the APHA (takes 7-10 days). If a culture is required, we can forward the sample to the APHA for culture but this can take a variable amount of time to obtain a result.

High risk samples: Other sites which can be associated with clinical disease (e.g. CSF, synovial fluid, intervertebral disc material, blood). Samples from these sites in patients with a travel history will only be cultured by the VPG when the patient has either a negative Brucella SAT and/or iELISA from the APHA (takes 7-10 days), or a negative FASTest (same day turnaround), which we can run at the VPG provided a serum sample is submitted. (VPG codes: see below).

Medium risk: Sites where bacteria may be found (e.g. Urine, milk). These will be cultured by the VPG if the patient has either a negative Brucella SAT and/or iELISA from the APHA (takes 7-10 days), or a negative FASTest (same day turnaround) which we can run at the VPG provided a serum sample is submitted, or the patient can be downgraded to a low risk category on the basis of history (e.g. a pet dog bred in the UK which is neutered and only travels on holiday with an owner where it is walked on a lead versus an imported dog with unknown history that was only castrated on arrival into the UK). (VPG codes: see below).

Low risk (but not no risk): Sites where the bacteria is unlikely to be found (e.g. faeces, body cavity fluids, BAL, skin/ear/eye swabs, wounds etc). These samples will be cultured by the VPG using precautions.

Serology testing of imported dogs:

The most recent (February 2023) recommendation from the APHA for serology testing of imported dogs is to run a combination of 2 serology tests to increase the sensitivity of detecting disease.

They recommend both the Brucella canis SAT (serum agglutination test) and Brucella canis iELISA (indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) (VPG code : BRUCSI)

If either test is positive, the sample is considered serologically positive. If both tests are negative, then the sample is considered serologically negative. Using this approach gives an estimated sensitivity of 90% and specificity of 99%.

The 2 tests work well in tandem as the SAT is more sensitive to IgM antibodies which are abundant during early stages of infection whilst the ELISA detects IgG antibodies which are more abundant after the early stages of infection and during chronic infection.

Antibodies are typically produced within 2 weeks of infection but, some dogs take up to 3 months to seroconvert. If screening serology is negative (particularly if clinical signs are suspicious of Brucellosis) and the dog has only recently been imported, then serology should be repeated 3 months from when the dog last had potential exposure to disease.

Samples can either be sent directly to the APHA or submitted to the VPG as usual and we will forward them on to the APHA for testing.

Turnaround time: 7 to 10 days. Sample requirement: 2ml serum.

Which dogs to test:

In 2020/21 there was an increase in cases of Brucellosis in UK dogs most of which had been imported from Romania and Eastern Europe or had close contact with dogs that had travelled to these areas. Routine testing was initially only advised for this group. However the increasing numbers of dogs being imported into the UK (Western Europe generally), free movement of dogs within Europe (often with a lack of movement history), and the occurrence of the disease in large parts of the world (including Middle East, Africa, North and South America, Asia, Mediterranean, Central and Eastern Europe) has meant that most travelled dogs could potentially have been exposed to disease. Patients may present with clinical signs but are often subclinical.

Until more epidemiological data is available to guide recommendations, we advise testing any dog with a travel history outside the UK (with the exception of Australia and NZ which have rigorous testing and quarantine requirements).

VPG test codes:

Brucella canis SAT (VPG code : BRUCAS)

Brucella canis ELISA (VPG code : BRUCEA)

Brucella canis SAT plus Brucella canis ELISA (VPG code : BRUCSI) Recommended

Other tests:

  • Brucella canis FASTest (VPG code : BRUF – please call to discuss with our pathology team) – this is a qualitative lateral flow test yielding either a positive or negative result. We are currently using this test to screen for potential disease in travelled dogs where Brucellosis is not suspected clinically but APHA serology has not yet been performed. A negative result will allow us to progress with bacterial culture of certain submitted samples (see high and medium risk samples above).

The test is being performed to reduce the risk to laboratory staff and allow requested tests to be performed in a timely manner. It should not be relied upon as the sole test to determine a dogs serology status and should be followed up with the APHA serology tests mentioned above. There is limited data available to evaluate this test as yet. In dogs with clinical disease it appears reasonably sensitive but can be prone to analytical error.

  • Brucella canis RSA (Rapid slide agglutination test) – this is a qualitative test yielding only a positive or negative result. It is run by the APHA and largely superseded by the iELISA.

What to do in the event of a positve result:

Please find a link to the APHA Canine Brucellosis summary sheet. This contains useful information about the disease and the recommended actions in the event of a suspect Brucella canis case or a positive Brucella canis result.

http://apha.defra.gov.uk/documents/surveillance/diseases/Canine-Brucellosis-Summary-Final-260421.pdf. 

We are available to discuss how this may impact your practice, so that you can manage your treatment plans and client expectations. Please contact your local VPG laboratory.

***These recommendations may change as further epidemiological data becomes available ***

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Tips for Vets Dealing With Stress

The 2023 Workplace Health Report found that 76% of employees report moderate-to-high or high levels of stress. The veterinary profession is no different, as the risk of poor mental health and suicide is higher than the population at large.[1]

We’ve put together some tips that will help you to reduce stress, along with some helpful resources that can provide help and further information. 

Talking about it

Talking openly and honestly about stress can help to strengthen your relationships and help to get you the support that you need. In some instances, it can also help people who are going through the same issues feel less alone.

If you’d feel more comfortable speaking anonymously, the Vetlife helpline is available 24 hours, 365 days a year and all calls are completely confidential.

Exercise  

Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and can become a distractor from daily worries. Regular exercise can help to increase an individual’s self-confidence, improve your mood and help you to relax.  

Sleep

Eve Sleep discovered that 79% of us struggle to switch off at bedtime and 60% of us wake up in the night with thoughts of work or other worries.

To help get a good night’s sleep experts recommend turning off screens early, being mindful before bed by meditating or deep breathing, taking a hot bath or shower before and reducing caffeine intake.

Useful Resources

The Mind Matters Initiative, which aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those in the veterinary team, have created a downloadable guide on enhancing wellbeing and managing stress in the veterinary workplace. The guide is available to view and download here.

Vetlife also produces independent, confidential and free help to anyone in the veterinary community including veterinary nurses, students, and non-clinical staff.

How we can help

Here at the VPG we offer highly personalised diagnostics for every submission and free consultation from our expert veterinary pathologists, to assist you in providing the best care for your patients possible.  

You can also save time when requesting testing and ordering submissions by using PATHPORT our easy to use online portal.

For more information on our services, please contact your local laboratory.


[1] https://vetmindmatters.org/we-all-have-mental-health/

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Image: https://puppyhero.com/ 

Case Study: Chocolate Poisoning

This Easter, with all the chocolate Easter eggs in the home and Easter egg hunts on offer, there is an increased likelihood of chocolate poisoning in dogs. According to the BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Professions surveys from 2016-2018, 60% of vets had treated cases of chocolate poisoning over the Easter period.

At VPG, we can support you and your patient in potential poisoning cases.  

Our unique toxicology service provides affordable, flexible and rapid testing for toxins and toxic compounds.

Read our case study below to find out how we helped one practice after their patient got hold of an Easter egg.

Case Study:

Meet “Hudson”, a 15-month-old male neutered Labrador Retriever. Last Easter he presented to his Vet with sudden onset ataxia, vomiting and diarrhoea. Hypoadrenocorticism was excluded.

Stomach contents and a free catch urine sample were submitted to our VPG Leeds lab for a general toxicology screen. This screen tests for >30,000 different compounds.  

The urine tested positive for theobromine, a methylated xanthine that is a major alkaloid in chocolate. The highest content of which can be found in dark chocolate and cocoa. It is readily absorbed from the GI tract and distributed throughout the body. It is metabolised in the liver, undergoes enterohepatic recirculation and is eliminated rapidly in the urine.

This can result in stimulation of the Central Nervous System, cardiac muscle, can promote diuresis and induce smooth muscle relaxation. It also results in increased mental alertness and exaggerated response to normal stimuli.

The initial symptoms of theobromine poisoning in dogs usually appear within 2-4 hours and can last for 12 – 72 hours. First signs of poisoning include diarrhoea, polydipsia and polyuria and vomiting. Further symptoms can develop including hyperactivity, tremors, tachypnea and hyperthermia. In severe cases toxicity can result in seizures, cardiac arrhythmiias, coma and can be fatal. The development of symptoms and duration of signs are dose dependent.

In this case, the Vet undertook rapid detoxification, through gastric emptying and activated charcoal every 3-4hrs, which can reduce the serum half-life of methylxanthines. “Hudson” was also monitored for hypotension.

“Hudson” was able to make a full recovery and after treatment was able to return to his family.  

If you have any questions on our toxicology services, please get in touch by emailing [email protected] or by calling 0113 287 0175.

Image: https://puppyhero.com/ 

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How to Create a Blood Smear

At the Veterinary Pathology Group (VPG) we want to assist you in providing the best care for your patients possible.

Sending the best possible sample to your diagnostic laboratory can help to reduce delays and improve the quality of the results that you receive.

That’s why we have put together a step-by-step guide to assist you with creating a blood smear.

Step 1

Label a clean slide with a frosted end. Place a small drop of blood (4mm diameter) about 0.5cm from the frosted end (patient slide).

Step 2

Using a second slide (spreader slide), place the short end of this slide, at a 30-degree angle, on the patient slide, in front of the blood droplet. The entire short edge of the spreader slide must be in complete and even contact with the patient slide.

Step 3

In one smooth motion, pull the spreader slide back into the blood droplet and allow the droplet to spread along the edge of the spreader slide. This happens quickly. Push the spreader slide forward, smoothly and quickly, along the length of the patient slide. Maintain the 30° angle, smooth motion, slight downward pressure, and even contact between slides for an optimal smear.

Step 4

Your smear should extend along no more than 3/4 the length of the slide and should have a “tongue” shape with a feathered edge (at the tip of the “tongue”).

For further assistance, please contact your nearest laboratory using the contact details available on our website.  

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