Tools of the trade: ISSCO BM-Lab microscope


by Dr Veronica Gibb Cumming, Seaforth Veterinary Hospital, NSW

This microscope is quite old but it’s probably one of the most valuable pieces of equipment in the practice. Without a microscope, daily simple procedures would end up being very costly for clients.

What’s good about it

It allows you to make a diagnosis quickly, particularly with skin lesions, lumps and bumps. Instead of a biopsy as the first port of call, you can get a fairly accurate idea straight away.

When an animal presents with an enlarged lymph node, there are large up-front costs and an extended waiting time if you go straight to biopsy. It’s much better to look at a fine needle aspirate under the microscope. If the cells look cancerous then a biopsy can be scheduled more quickly.

We can do a smear or urine analysis, stain it up and within five minutes we’ll have a good idea of what’s happening. Then we can decide whether to send it away to the pathologist, do a biopsy, run external blood tests or not worry about it at that moment.

Our microscope is old school and doesn’t have computer screens attached to it. It does the job but it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. Occasionally a client will be really interested and I’ll let them have a look. Ear mites are a big hit to look at under the microscope. 

What’s not so good

Even though this microscope is an older model, it still works fine. As long as it’s basically maintained and nobody leaves oil on the high-power lens, it’s very reliable. Over the years, I’ve worked at a lot of different clinics and I’ve never been to one that has a fancy new microscope. They’re always really old.

Where did you get it

I’m pretty sure our microscope is out of production but ISSCO has a range of newer models available.


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