By: Anna Fagre DVM MPH
You’ve received the report (sample report) from the veterinary clinical pathologist assigned to your case - now what?
At the beginning of the report, you will find the information provided by you, the veterinarian. The animal’s species, breed, age, and weight will be listed in the first block. Additionally, any history that you provided with the submission on the animal’s condition or lesion will be listed. A full and thorough history of the animal’s presenting complaint and related medical conditions assist our clinical pathology team not only in providing a more informed interpretation of the sample, but guide us in requesting additional or different samples for future specimens.
The second half of the report includes the microscopic description of the lesions, interpretation, and related comments.
Microscopic Description: The quality of the submitted sample will initially be described, which is an important factor to keep in consideration. The quality of the diagnosis is only as good as the quality of the sample. As they say, “garbage in - garbage out!” The rest of the microscopic description is largely qualitative, illustrating cell morphology and abundance as appreciated by our clinical pathology team. This is also the section that will touch on issues such as blood contamination, which can sometimes confound results.
Interpretation: All of the information provided in the microscopic description guides the clinical pathologist interpreting your report, ultimately resulting in the diagnosis. If you only have a moment to glance at the report, this is the most important part to look at.
Comments: The last section provides invaluable supporting information related to the interpretation/diagnosis made by our clinical pathologists, including but not limited to additional differential diagnoses and further diagnostic specimens to evaluate for more definitive characterization of the patient’s condition. For example, if the aspirate suggests a soft tissue sarcoma, a comment may read “further characterization of the neoplasm and grading (prognostic value) must be evaluated through histopathology”.
What’s important to us at Lacuna Diagnostics is our client’s comfort with interpretation and navigation of provided reports. That being said, if there are any items that require further clarification or that you may have questions on, we are more than happy to speak with you about this over the phone or via e-mail. The clinical pathologist that finalized the report always provides their phone number and e-mail address on each report so that you can speak directly to the specialist that read your patient’s slides. And importantly, as we employ veterinarians all over the globe, the pathologist’s timezone is listed with their contact information to facilitate communication between client and specialist.