by Dr Cameron Rain, Hampton Park Veterinary Hospital, VIC
We use these units on a daily basis to run our blood samplings and pre-anaesthetic blood tests. They both give very reliable results.
What’s good about it
We can have results within minutes and treat patients very quickly. The haematology analyser gives a five-part white blood cell differential and absolute reticulocyte count rather than just a basic red blood cell or white blood cell count that some other machines provide. It also detects band neutrophillia and that’s very handy for critical patients. In addition to the biochemistry, common hormonal assays, such as blood cortisol and total T4 levels, can run as well.
The results are obtained in a matter of minutes as opposed to the six to eight hours it takes the lab. It’s a massive time-saver for us and a massive reassurance for our clients. It relieves a lot of angst and anxiety when we can give an answer so quickly. It also allows for a treatment plan to happen very quickly, which is especially handy if a client visits late on a Friday.
One of the biggest advantages is the ability to trend results. Our results are integrated on the web against the external results from IDEXX and can be checked via the IDEXX VetConnect portal. We can individualise the patient treatment when we know the value of the sample a year ago compared to the value of a sample today.
What’s not so good
As expected, both of these machines need frequent testing to make sure they’re accurate. We receive a monthly test from the lab that we run against the machines. If everything matches, they are calibrated correctly. They also need in-house daily, weekly and monthly processes to maintain quality control.