Small animal practices have been using Vetscan Imagyst™ as a multi-purpose platform longer than equine facilities for fecals, digital cytology image transfer, blood smears and now dermatology. We talked with Dana Reardon, the practice team leader at Adobe Veterinary Center in Tucson, Arizona, about the evolution of Vetscan Imagyst for equine fecal egg counts at their practice. Three of Adobe’s veterinarians specialize in the care of dogs and cats and the other four veterinarians specialize in the care of horses, livestock and potbelly pigs.
Reardon said Adobe Veterinary Center was originally just using Vetscan Imagyst for small animal fecals when Zoetis asked the practice to take on a second Vetscan Imagyst for testing equine fecal egg counts and report their findings. She said her team was excited to have another scanner to use to run equine and small animal fecals in addition to equine digital cytology!
“Reading a fecal—even a McMaster’s fecal—is very time-consuming,” said Reardon. Plus, with Vetscan Imagyst, “it gets back into the record. All we had to do was call the owner with the results.”
Positives of Imagyst Equine Fecal Testing
Part of the equine wellness program at Adobe is to run fecal samples annually. Having to use techs to read equine fecals is time-consuming. Also, “If you have to sit there and read 20 fecals, it makes you kind of nauseous,” admitted Reardon. So, having the scanner perform the readout not only saves precious technician time, but avoids possible human error from looking at the microscope for hours on end.
Reardon said the environment is harsh in Arizona, so they usually don’t have an issue with worm burdens. But, annual fecal egg count testing is good medicine and is recommended by the AAEP.
The other issue faced at Adobe was the dog and cat fecals were read while the client was in the building. That allowed the veterinarian to make recommendations during the visit. Being able to offer that same quick turnaround for equine clients hauling into the clinic was good for business.
Reardon said they could provide fecal egg count results and dewormer recommendations before the client hauled home. Otherwise, fecal samples dropped off or taken at a farm call could be run and a report interpreted and sent to the client through a phone call or digitally—delaying the report of findings and taking up additional time for callbacks.
Reardon said when she was doing equine fecal samples by hand, it was time-consuming. From coming back with the sample, setting them up and spinning them down (they could do eight samples at a time), to letting them spin for 10-15 minutes was a process that took staff away from other responsibilities. The samples had to sit for another five to 10 minutes for the “float.” Reardon said there were a lot, so it could be confusing between people and slides.
While Reardon said owners don’t know the difference in the tech staff hand-counting the equine fecal sample results and doing the test on Imagyst Vetscan, “It could be something we could promote,” she said. “Machine-reading instead of a human who could make errors” might be a selling point, she said.
“In one of our meetings, we discussed having the receptionists tell clients to bring fecals in” for equine clients, said Reardon.
Reardon said with small animals “the technicians are reminding clients, ‘Oh, while you are in the room, we can start your fecal.’ That has increased compliance and helps us make sure their pet is healthy.”
Vetscan Imagyst—Digital Cytology Image Transfer
The benefit of digital cytology and blood smears options from Vetscan Imagyst probably isn’t equal among practices, said Reardon. “We are good at reading samples,” she said. “For a doctor that doesn’t have the time or desire to read the slides,” the cytology offerings on Vetscan Imagyst is a benefit with results provided by a board-certified pathologist in less than two hours.
“You also have images for the records” with Vetscan Imagyst, said Reardon.
Reardon said there is a skill to doing the slide for blood smears with the Vetscan Imagyst, just like there is for doing slides in-house.
“You can free up doctor and tech time, that’s huge!” said Reardon. “It’s easy for techs to utilize, and they can move on to something else,” she said of using the Vetscan Imagyst. “We are providing the tech with equipment so they can do something else.”
Keeping Up with Demand
Reardon admitted that having a second Vetscan Imagyst in the practice means they can do more in-house testing in less time, enabling them to run tests on dogs, cats, horses, or multiple patients simultaneously.
She said Adobe’s practice is growing so fast that “it would be good to have a second” Vetscan Imagyst at the practice!
Reardon shared that internet speed is an important factor while using the Vetscan Imagyst. Working with their provider allowed them to resolve connection issues so they can get results in a more timely fashion and maintain efficiencies.
“We like to run [fecals] in-house instead of sending them out to the out-sourced lab,” she said.
With the Vetscan Imagyst, “You can spin down several at a time,” said Reardon. “Then you can switch out the slide and do another one. With equine, the differences from small animal is that you need to weigh the fecal sample and spin down is not required.”
Reardon said using the Vetscan Imagyst does make life simpler for the staff. “Now the machine is reading it, and they can step away for the 10 minutes while the machine is reading it,” she said. “They can do something else. They don’t have to sit there and stare into a microscope.
“Dog-cat wise it gives us results while the animal is still in the building,” she added. “If they have something, we can give a treatment to them right then so they don’t have to come back.”
She said the practice’s large animal clients “don’t want to come back here when they are an hour away,” said Reardon. “If they haul in, we can give them results before they leave.
Giardia Detection in Small Animals Is Important
She also likes that the Vetscan Imagyst can detect Giardia, which has been validated in small animal testing. Giardia can affect humans, horses, dogs and cats.
Reardon said she likes that they can test for Giardia in-house with Vetscan Imagyst for small animals. Before, those samples had to be sent to an outside lab.
“Being able to run a Giardia test, find Giardia, and keep the funds in-house versus sending to an outside lab is ideal!” she stressed. “That’s what you want to do is keep as many things in-house as you can.”
For another small animal use, the skill to do the slide of a blood smear is probably the same whether doing it in-house or with Vetscan Imagyst. “Having ease for technicians to utilize things like this so they can move on to something else…gives them the feeling we are providing them with equipment to do that,” said Reardon.
About Dana Reardon
Dana Reardon, practice team leader at Adobe Veterinary Center in Arizona, was born and raised in Tucson and attended Northern Arizona University majoring in accounting. She has two daughters with her husband, Tommy. Dana has been part of the Adobe team since 2003. She started as a large animal technician and is now Adobe’s team leader. She enjoys this role because it provides variety in her work day, such as the ability to work outside and to help others as well as supporting her “awesome” co-workers!
Her pets include Fiona (Great Pyrenees/Anatolian shepherd), Luna (Shepherd mix), Loki (Lab mix) and Cassie (Catahoula mix). In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, hanging out with her kids and granddaughter, or floating in the pool.
About Adobe Veterinary Center and Pet Resort
Adobe’s practice is unique in that they provide medical care to multiple species in the greater Tucson and surrounding areas. Three of their veterinarians specialize in the care of dogs and cats and the other four veterinarians specialize in the care of horses, livestock, and potbelly pigs with 40 years of experience.
They provide small animal services including—but not limited to—preventative care, surgery, dentistry, laboratory diagnostics, X-rays and ultrasound. Large animal services include—but are not limited to—preventative care, emergency services, chiropractic care, surgery, advanced dentistry, in-house laboratory diagnostics, x-rays, ultrasound and lameness exams.
Adobe Veterinary Center has been providing compassionate and quality veterinary care in Tucson and surrounding communities since 1979. Their veterinarians have more than 65 years of combined experience. Each year their veterinary team attends more than 150 hours of continuing education to provide their clients’ animals with the most current medical and surgical care.
Vetscan Imagyst: Benefits to Vets, Techs, Horses and Owners. Vetscan Imagyst gives veterinarians a straight line to a clinical pathologist available 24 hours a day who can quickly provide interpretation of cytology samples.
Editor’s note: For more information about Vetscan Imagyst, visit https://www.vetscanimagyst.com/equine/ or talk to your Zoetis representative.