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Microscopy: A Simple Yet Powerful Diagnostic Tool

Microscopes are used to help your veterinarian diagnose your pet's illness because most diseases affect your pet on a cellular (or "microscopic") level. Although this technology has been around for centuries, it is still one of the most commonly used diagnostic tools. Microscopes are used to detect numerous types of diseases including infections and cancers.

For example, if your pet comes in with irritated ears, the technician will collect an ear swab sample for cytology. The technician will transfer the ear debris to a glass slide, perform laboratory staining, and review it under the microscope. Common ear infections include bacteria and yeast organisms. This information helps guide the veterinarian to make the most optimal treatment plan.


Another common use for the microscope is to diagnose skin lumps and bumps. Skin growths are very common in pets, especially as they age. Skin growths can be anything from a granuloma, abscess, cyst, or benign or malignant skin cancer.  It's often impossible to diagnose a skin growth just by touch alone. Your veterinarian might recommend performing a fine needle aspirate to diagnose the skin growth. A fine needle aspirate or cytology is a quick test with minimal discomfort. It involves using a small needle to collect cells from the growth and then observing the cells under the microscope. This less invasive test can quickly diagnose the cause of the skin growth. Although this test is often performed in the hospital, we might recommend sending a sample to clinical pathologist for expert diagnosis. 

Other uses for microscopy include fecal testing for GI parasites, skin scraping for mites, and microscopic review of blood and urine. Our expert team has been caring for pets in Chandler and has the knowledge and experience to obtain fast and accurate results to get your pet feeling better. Contact our team today at (480) 899-7738 or request an appointment.

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