In House Laboratory
At Peasebrook Equine Clinic we have a designated laboratory where we can perform a range of tests to aid in the rapid, effective treatment of our patients.
HaEMATOLOGY and Biochemistry
A full blood profile comprises analysis of the red and white blood cells, known collectively as haematology. The white cell parameters give an indication on the horse’s immune status, i.e. are they currently fighting a viral or bacterial infection. The ratio of the various different types of white cell is known as the differential and this often helps clarify the progression of the illness. The red blood cell levels are used to establish if the patient is anaemic, whether they have suffered from blood loss or whether they are dehydrated.
The biochemistry profile assess the horse’s physiological well- being. Liver and kidney health, muscle function and protein levels are all measured, along with electrolytes, glucose levels etc.
We can also measure an inflammatory protein called serum amyloid A or SAA for short. This protein is a very sensitive indicator of tissue damage and often highlights infection before the white cell levels have altered much.
During the stud season we process many newborn foal bloods to measure their level of IgG; this is the antibody they absorb from their mother’s colostrum and so it is very important to establish that they have enough to protect them.
We are fortunate to have a state of the art microscope in our lab which is in constant use to analyse various tissue samples. Again during the stud season, we process hundreds of uterine swabs from mares and they are all checked under the microscope for the presence of inflammatory cells. This is a necessary pre-breeding check to make sure that they are clean and fit to cover.
We also view many tracheal wash samples collected from the lungs of horses via our videoendoscope. This test is done to evaluate a coughing horse but also as a routine pre-race test for Thoroughbreds.
Faecal Worm Egg Count
To prevent the unnecessary use of wormers it is best practice to perform regular worm egg counts on your horse’s droppings to establish if they have a parasite burden or not. Typically in a population of horses, the majority will be clear or have low worm egg counts, assuming good pasture care and reasonable stocking densities, but there will often be one or more individuals that have high counts and are the main offenders. This is due to variation in the individual immune response mounted against the parasites. So targeting the main carriers only with worming treatments is the most responsible action to avoid build up of resistance to the limited range of drugs available to us. We will report results on the same day that samples are delivered to us and are always happy to advise on worming strategies.