Cytology and Histopathology
The type of cells and bacteria present in a particular area of the body gives us important information about the nature of disease your pet may have. We commonly use cytology and histopathology to examine relevant areas and aid in the diagnosis process.
This is performed at the clinic and is a cheap test that can have a high yeild. Cytology is the examination of individual cells and surrounding material. These samples are usually gathered either by taking an impression smear, fine needle aspirate or skin scraping of the area in question. Once the sample is collected, it is either viewed freshly or dried and stained using a three-step staining technique. It is then examined under a microscope.
While this technique may often give accurate answers about general processes, sometimes additional testing, such as histopathology or bacterial culture and sensitivity, may be necessary before a definitive treatment regime is begun.
While our in-house cytology can provide some of the answers about the origin of a particular tissue mass, histopathology is often necessary to determine the exact nature of the tissue, whether it is malignant (in the case of tumours), and whether all of the tissue has been removed if surgery has been undertaken.
Once the sample tissue has been removed, it is placed into formalin, packaged, then sent to an external specialist laboratory. There, the sample is processed and examined by a specialist histopathologist, then the findings are returned to us online. One of our vets then discusses the findings with the animal's owner by telephone. It usually takes several days from submission of the sample to final reporting.