Laboratory diagnostic services

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Laboratory services in a small animal general practice are often provided by external laboratories. There are, however, core tests that are usually offered in house by practices, and many practices have extensive in-house provision. This chapter assesses the need for in-house testing, designing and installing a practice laboratory, and laboratory management.

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14.3 Calculating a margin for laboratory testing. Recording and grouping income (blue) and costs (pink) in the PMS and management accounts allows simple analysis; prices can then be adjusted in order to maintain or improve margins (profitability). This model can also be used for predicting margins when considering purchasing new equipment.
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14.4 Laboratory layouts. A compact practice laboratory, with efficient use of space for analysers. This small practice laboratory is arranged in a U format. Larger analysers can only be used where there is sufficient space, preferably in a dedicated laboratory, and often require a deeper workbench than the standard 600 mm.
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14.5 Laboratory storage often includes a mix of drawers and cupboards. Note the lists of contents on these top cupboards. Integrated mobile removable drawer units under an impervious benchtop.
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14.6 An appropriately labelled and lockable steel cabinet for storing hazardous chemicals.
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14.10 Digital display electrochemical analysers. Clockwise from top left: Mobile example with built-in thermal printer; handheld example which can be linked to an external printer; single-use sample cartridge package. Cartridges often require refrigerated storage but some can be stored at room temperature; shelf-life is limited.
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14.11 A practice laboratory with a wall-mounted deionizer for producing large volumes of distilled water. An alternative deionizer, showing the internal workings.
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14.12 Core equipment. Clockwise from left: binocular microscope; capillary tubes; glucometer; slides; centrifuge; refractometer. Glass slides with frosted ends can be labelled quickly and easily with a pencil.
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14.13 An example of a glucometer for veterinary use.
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14.14 A positive FeLV test result (black arrow) on an in-house test kit. (Reproduced from ).
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14.15 Biohazard bags. Containers of formalin-fixed samples must be placed inside a second rigid container with absorbable material.


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