Diagnosing and treating animal diseases would not be possible without veterinary clinical pathologists, who analyze body fluids and tissues and provide veterinarians with valuable information about their patients’ diseases and illnesses. Most veterinarians partner with one or more outside laboratories, which generally include free pathologist consultations with their service costs. However, VESPECON recognizes that some veterinarians may need to consult with an outside or independent pathologist, so we include these specialists on our team. Here are a few situations where our pathology team can assist general practice and specialist veterinarians.
#1: Ordering and interpreting outside diagnostic tests
Veterinarians are considered pet and animal health experts, but no one veterinarian can know everything about a specific disease or condition, which is why many veterinarians became specialists, such as clinical pathologists. Veterinary pathologists can help primary veterinarians diagnose and treat their patients and, with difficult cases, can advise them on the following:
- The tests that will provide the most valuable information for a specific case
- Interpretation of diagnostic results in light of the patient’s clinical signs
- Suggestions for specific treatments based on diagnostic test results
- Insight into disease behavior based on diagnostic test results
- Insight into prognostic factors that may influence a patient’s treatment
#2: Obtaining second opinions
Most outside veterinary labs allow pathology consultations at no additional charge, which are extremely useful in discussing specific test results and questions. However, if you would like a second, unbiased, third-party opinion for some of your cases, our pathologists are available at your fingertips. They will discuss your patient’s report and the pathologist’s comments, and review their findings so you can feel confident that you’re on the right track for providing your patients with the best possible care.
#3: Running more in-house diagnostics
If you want to keep more diagnostic tests in-house, you may need help from an outside pathologist to review your tricky cases and ensure you’re making the correct diagnostic conclusions. In-house testing may also be helpful for clients who cannot afford extensive third-party tests or who decline the tests for other reasons. Our pathologist can review and discuss the following to elevate your in-house diagnostic process:
- Cytology slide photos
- Blood cell differential slide photos
- Chemistry results
- CBC results
- Urinalysis results
#4: Learning about disease pathology
When veterinarians consult with an outside clinical pathologist, they learn more about a specific disease process or pathology, and will retain that knowledge for the next similar case. Veterinary medicine is constantly evolving, and veterinarians are always learning and growing in their careers. Pathology consultations help veterinarians learn to more accurately interpret diagnostic findings and to better understand why and how pathologic changes occur, and they can integrate this knowledge with their patient’s clinical picture to devise the most successful treatment plan.
#5: Supporting pathology research
Many independent or consulting clinical pathologists work in academia or research settings. They grow their knowledge and understanding of animal diseases, and their pathologic underpinnings, each time they interpret a test result or discuss the case with the attending veterinarian. A pathologist consultation may also contribute to ongoing research efforts or spark further research to fill current knowledge gaps, furthering veterinary medicine and patient care as a whole.
Consulting through VESPECON
Whatever your reason for consulting with a veterinary pathologist, VESPECON is here to help. Our virtual consulting team is a diverse group of board-certified, expert professionals who collaborate with practicing veterinarians, each other, and outside specialists to provide pet patients with elevated care. We use a video chat platform to provide real-time, face-to-face connection, eliminating the delays associated with calls and emails, and helping build long-term consulting relationships. The video chat platform also allows our consultants to see the patient in action, rather than through photos, which significantly increases our ability to help.
Our concierge-style customer care will ensure you’re matched with the right specialist(s) and that your care transitions are seamless. Also, if your patient needs advanced specialty care beyond the general veterinarian’s scope, our team can refer them to a local specialist in our preferred provider network.