by Dr Kelly Skilbeck, Bass Hill Vet, NSW
The MiniReader measures progesterone levels in dogs or cattle. We use it with dogs when planning mating times or if a dog is due for a caesarian. It uses ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay) technology.
What’s good about it
This machine is extremely useful for our clients who are interested in breeding dogs. Sometimes clients have show dogs, unusual or expensive breeds and they may be using imported semen.
It’s pretty easy to operate. We collect a blood sample, spin it down and collect serum. We estimate the progesterone concentration of the patient sample by comparing it with the three standards that come with the kit.
The machine allows us to time ovulation in the bitch and guides us with whelping timing as well, particularly when we are trying to schedule caesarians within opening hours. We usually compare the results with findings from vaginal cytology and run samples from other clinics to compare the results between different machines.
Prior to owning the MiniReader we had to send out our samples to the lab for a progesterone test. It was a 12 to 24-hour turnaround and that made things a bit difficult for our clients. Now, our clients can get the results in one appointment.
What’s not so good
It is a bit fiddly to operate and takes about 40 minutes to run the test. Staff need training on correct pipetting techniques and occasionally we have to repeat an entire run. There are multiple steps that need to be taken and they are time dependent.