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Laboratory

Spring Paddocks Equine Clinic’s in house laboratory facilities allow same day processing of routine blood samples and prompt availability of results so that treatment can be quickly instigated.

We also use a number of larger Specialist Labs when further specific tests are required.

Haematology

Haematology is the most commonly run blood sample in our Laboratory. This tells us - the amount of white blood cells, red blood cells and haemoglobin (oxygen carrying molecules) in the blood, along with the PCV (packed cell volume, or percentage of red blood cells) and whether anaemia is evident.  Sometimes a differential smear is run in conjunction with the haematological machine telling us the ratio of different white blood cells; Neutrophils, Lymphocytes, Monocytes and Eosinophils – abnormal ratios of each type of cell can be indicators of specific problems in your horse’s blood, such as a viral or bacterial infection. They also allow assessment of fitness, hydration status.

Biochemistry

Blood samples may be analysed in our laboratory to aid diagnosis of numerous conditions including performance assessment (fitness profile) or to investigate ill health (full profile). It allows assessment of parasitic conditions, muscle enzymes, liver, kidney, intestinal pathology or other metabolic abnormalities. These examinations may also be valuable as part of a preventive medicine programme for groups of horses, when examined on a regular routine basis, and interpreted carefully, and provide information which can be used as a basis for advice to trainers of race and performance horses.

We offer a range of pre-set blood profiles as well as a full profile - racing/ fitness, liver, renal and inflammatory profiles, which are tailored for when a vet has suspicions surrounding a particular area of the body.

Urinalysis

Examination of urine can be an important indicator of a variety of common problems within your horse’s body - from simple issues such as dehydration and urinary infections, difficulty urinating, increased urinating and drinking, weight loss to more severe complications such as, recurrent colic, liver failure. It is a quick and simple test that allows us to report results the same day, with an option to produce a bacterial culture.

We test for five main things in a horse’s urine:

  • Red blood cells
  • Protein
  • Glucose
  • pH
  • Specific gravity (a measure of the concentration of the urine) with a refractometer

We also offer testing of the urine sediment if stones or crystals are suspected. Urine samples do not have to be taken by a vet, and can be collected by the owner/trainer in a clean sealed container labelled with the horse's name, and brought into the clinic.

Bacteriology

We are able to perform bacterial cultures in house, allowing prompt results for e.g. endometrial cultures of in-season mares, allowing the most effective treatment and antibiotics to be selected for each patient. Strangles swabs and other specific samples are usually sent off to specialist labs for interpretation and antibiotic sensitivity testing.

ACTH

ACTH level are used to diagnose Pars pituitary dysfunction (PPID) otherwise known as Cushing’s disease in a horse and pony. This test can be taken be performed on a resting blood sample or after a TRH stimulation test for any borderline results.

Check our newsletters and watch our website as there are often offers of free lab fees for this test at certain times of year.

Hormonal assays

We can test for progesterone levels in house, this especially useful in early high risk pregnancies, but samples taken to test for Rig-like behaviour or to test a range of hormone levels in mares are sent off to a specialist laboratory.

Parasitology/Fungal assay

Faecal worm egg count (dung sample) can be carried out in house and is a useful part of your horse’s health programme. The results can then be discussed with a veterinary surgeon and if necessary a worming plan instigated.

Fungal culture allows for the confirmation of Ringworm/dermatophyte infections (4 days to culture).