Diagnostic Pathology Reference Laboratory

The laboratory has a huge diagnostic workload and provides a diagnostic service to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital at the Faculty as well as to all the other Departments. This service is also available to private clients including pharmaceutical companies. The main purpose of the diagnostic service is to generate material for under- and post-graduate student training and it is not the intention to compete with the private sector for cases. This is well illustrated by the fact that IDEXX Vet Path, a private pathology laboratory, is renting space within the Pathology Complex. The necropsy service involves a thorough post mortem examination (usually done by final year students or a clinical assistant (pathologist-in-training) under the supervision of a pathologist), with the recognition of macroscopic lesions in organs and tissues, the ability to give appropriate morphological diagnoses, judge the significance of lesions and collection of appropriate samples for confirmation/exclusion of diagnoses/differential diagnoses (DDs).

Annually approximately 1 100 post mortems are performed and 4000 cases processed for microscopical examination.  The histopathology service offers morphological, aetiological (where possible) or differential diagnoses, based on microscopic morphology. Haematoxylin-and-Eosin (H&E)-stained tissue sections from a wide variety of animals (submitted by clinicians at the OVAH, veterinarians in private practice in South Africa and in neighbouring countries, e.g. Zambia, and private pathologists for a second opinion), are interpreted in conjunction with information supplied by the history, macroscopic findings and results of other investigational procedures, e.g. electron microscopy (EM), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), virus isolation, etc.  Special diagnostic techniques used include special stains for fungi etc, immunohistochemical labelling for a variety of conditions/diseases, immunofluorescent staining, and negative staining electron microscopy. The histopathology laboratory is accredited by the South African Veterinary Council.

- Author CvB
Published by Chris van Blerk

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