Why is Pathology Important?

Why is pathology important for your pet?

Pathology testing helps your vet make accurate decisions about the diagnosis and treatment of your pet. This helps keep animals healthier for longer and avoids unnecessary delays in accessing the best possible treatment for their condition. It also helps you find out how their treatment is working and it avoids your pet from suffering unnecessary side-effects from inappropriate treatments.

Veterinary pathology also plays an essential part in screening and disease prevention programs which promote the overall health and wellbeing of our communities. By reducing the impact of preventable and treatable diseases in our pets, the pathology sector is helping to create a healthier future for all animals.


What is pathology?

Often a physical examination can only provide part of the picture of an illness, and to gain a complete profile the veterinarian needs accurate, expert, specialist examination of what may be occurring in the blood or body cells.

A veterinary pathology laboratory has many specialised departments, each with a highly trained team of professional pathologists, laboratory scientists, and technicians, supported by couriers and specimen reception staff, who are all dedicated to providing fast, accurate and reliable results.


What happens at the laboratory?

Once specimens have been collected by your vet, they are entered into the computer with your pet's details and sent to the laboratory for processing and analysis. Often the same specimen, whether it is a sample of blood, urine, faeces, sputum or a piece of tissue such as skin, can have many different tests performed on it by one or more of our departments.

Tests may include:

  • Haematology tests – the testing of blood, blood cells and blood products.
  • Biochemistry tests – screening tests to identify abnormal levels of substances in blood and body fluids.
  • Microbiological tests – the study of micro organisms in tissue, blood and body fluids.
  • Serological tests – serology refers to the diagnostic identification of antibodies in the blood stream and so serological tests are typically used where infection is suspected or to diagnose patients with certain immune deficiencies associated with a lack of antibodies.
  • Parasitology tests – tests used to identify parasitic agents (typically helminthic worms and protozoa) that cause disease in animals.
  • Histopathology/ Cytology – the diagnosis of disease from examining tissue samples and cellular smears.
  • Urinalysis – assesses the physical and chemical properties of urine.
  • Genetics – the diagnosis of genetic conditions from tissue, blood and body fluids.

The different tests often require varying lengths of time to be completed because some involve very complex procedures. When all of the results are available, the pathologists and the scientists are able to interpret them and then assist your vet to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

So give your best friend the best opportunity for a long, happy and healthy life. Talk to your vet today about a preventative health program most appropriate for your pet, based on breed, medical history and lifestyle. 

To find out more, or to request a brochure, please contact us.