The Laboratory in a Veterinary Clinic

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  • 0:01 The Laboratory
  • 0:57 Where a Vet Lab Is Located
  • 1:21 Vet Lab Equipment & Uses
  • 3:25 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will go over some of the common laboratory equipment that may be found in a general veterinary practice as well as examples of uses for each.

The Laboratory

Most veterinary clinics and hospitals have what's known as a laboratory. The laboratory is an area located inside a veterinary hospital where laboratory equipment is used to analyze patient tests and samples. Larger hospitals, especially veterinary teaching hospitals, may have a large and professionally-staffed veterinary diagnostic laboratory, consisting of dozens of pieces of high-tech equipment able to run hundreds of different tests. Not to mention the expertise of board-certified clinical and gross pathologists right there and then.

Such laboratories and similar professional diagnostic labs not part of a veterinary hospital are often utilized by your local veterinarian to run advanced tests, but we're not going to focus on that. We're going to focus on what's found in the general veterinary clinic's laboratory and why.

Where a Vet Lab Is Located

In your average veterinary clinic, the laboratory section of the hospital may have its own designated room or area. Quite frequently, however, the clinic's lab is part of a larger room that may include the pharmacy or basic treatment space. It is here that a lot of different equipment may be found. We'll go over some of the major pieces of equipment you may encounter in such a lab and what they're mainly used for.

Vet Lab Equipment and Uses

The most famous part of the veterinary laboratory is the microscope and its auxiliary items, like slides, stains, and cover slips. The microscope is used to look for intestinal parasites found in fecal samples, crystals found in urine, or blood to help identify any obvious problems, among many other things. Lying around somewhere in the lab, you'll hopefully find the refractometer, an instrument that helps to determine the concentration of things like urine.

Commonly found in the lab is the centrifuge, a piece of equipment that helps to spin and, thus, separate a substance into separate components based on density. The centrifuge can be used to separate things like blood into its different parts for a wide variety of tests, including ones that can help tell if an animal is anemic or not. Actually, that gives me a nice segue to the next thing you'll find, which is something called a microhematocrit (capillary) tube, which is a thin, fragile, glass tube used to determine if a patient is anemic or not.

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