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Newsletter 07/2017
We are pleased to welcome you to the monthly BattLab newsletter. This newsletter will bring you the latest news and information about our laboratory and all tests that we can offer to all our clients.
From our whole staff, a great big thank you to all the veterinarians that last month attended our third seminar on feline hyperthyroidism. We hope you found the talk from our external speaker Tim Williams from the University of Cambridge inspirational and we look forward to seeing you at the next seminar (and last for 2017) which is planned for the 3rd of October. The topic will be diagnostic approach of anaemia in cats and together we will go through some interesting clinical cases. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for more information.
In June 2017 BattLab has started a new monthly column on Veterinary Times Journal. Every month we will present you with a brand-new cytology case. Challenge yourself by reading the clinical history, looking at the cytology pictures we provide and try to reach a diagnosis. We will provide you the solution and some additional clinical information about the case. Do not miss it.
This month FAQ section is dedicated to Leptospirosis, a relatively common zoonotic infectious disease affecting the canine species with a worldwide distribution. The article below is a collection of answers to all the questions we get asked most often by our clients.
Which disease causes Leptospirosis?
Leptospirosis is caused by a bacteria Leptospira spp. Disease in dogs is caused primarily by Leptospira interrogans and Leptospira kirchsneri, the former subdivided in several seogroups, including the well-known Leptospira Icterohaemorrhagiae, Canicola and Pomona.
What clinical syndromes are associated with canine Leptospira infection?
Infection of dogs with Leptospira results in illness of variable severity, depending on the infecting strain, geographical location, and host immune response. In general vets should suspect Leptospirosis in dog with signs of renal and/or hepatic failure, uveitis, pulmonary haemorrhage, acute febrile illness or abortion. Dogs presenting with acute renal failure may show PU/PD, dehydration, vomiting, diarrhoea, inappetence and/or abdominal pain. Dogs with signs of hepatic failure may appear icteric. Bleeding tendency and DIC have also been reported.
What main clinicopathological abnormalities are expected in dogs with Leptospirosis?
Findings on CBC are mostly non specific and may include neutrophilia, lymphopenia, poorly regenerative anaemia and thrombocytopaenia.  Increased serum urea and creatinine concentrations are observed in >80% of dogs, often associated with poorly concentrated urine. Hepatocellular damage may be manifested by increase of liver enzymes and total bilirubin.  A combination of azotaemia and increased liver enzyme activities should markedly increase suspicion for Leptospirosis. Increased serum CK may also be seen, presumably because of myositis.
Which tests should I request if I suspect Leptospirosis in a dog?
Laboratory diagnosis of Leptospira infection is based mainly on serology (MAT) and PCR results.

Microscopic agglutination test (MAT) is the current diagnostic test of choice for canine leptospirosis in patients with consistent clinical signs. Ongoing infection is confirmed in the presence of positive titers and observation of a 4-fold change in titers 2-4 weeks after. Titers resulting from previous vaccination, exposure or chronic infection generally change more slowly or not at all. Be aware that often in the first week of illness, dogs may have negative MAT results.

PCR has a potential utility early in the course of untreated infection when antibody assays are frequently negative and antimicrobials have not been administered. They can also confirm active infection in animals with positive antibody test results that have a history of vaccination. In the first 10 days of infection organism numbers are the highest in blood, and thus blood is the sample of choice during the first week of illness. After that time, the organisms are present in highest concentration in urine. When the time of infection is unknown, simultaneous testing of blood and urine will increase diagnostic sensitivity. PCR assay do not distinguish between serovars and serogroups. Negative PCR results do not rule out Leptospirosis, because they may occur when organism numbers in samples are low, or PCR inhibitors are present.
Our laboratory offers a comprehensive service of serology and PCR testing for infectious diseases in all domestic species. For more information visit our website or contact us by phone or email. 
According to a few surveys, over half of pet owners aren’t aware their dog or cat can also suffer from seasonal allergies in the spring and summer months, when blooming environmental pollen levels and various newly emerging insects serve as additional allergens for the animal’s immune system to contend with. Moreover, dogs, cats and horses are commonly allergic to persistent allergies such as house dust mites, storage mites and various molds.   
Allergy testing and allergen-specific immunotherapy are the best options for these patients.  A basic screening panel is an excellent place to start, with expanded seasonal and/or perennial allergy panels performed depending on the initial screening results.  Alternatively, seasonal and/or perennial allergy panels can be initially requested, especially in cases when select allergens are clinically suspected.  We offer a wide selection of potential allergen tests including various seasonal and perennial allergens, feathers/hair, Malassezia, Sarcoptes, fleas, hymenoptera and a variety of insects.   All our tests are based on FcEpsilon receptor technology.    To assist with differential diagnoses, we also offer testing for numerous food allergens, including exotic allergens, as well as PCR tests for dermatophycosis and sarcoptic and demodectic mange.  Do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.
60 seconds with …. NATHAN COOK, Technician at BattLab​
How long have you been there?
I have been at BattLab for just over one month. Like most technicians in BattLab I rotate between the different departments, however my main areas of expertise are haematology and biochemistry.
Why do you do what you do?
After I had completed my degree I began working at a veterinary diagnostic laboratory in Surrey in the biochemistry and haematology department and I realised how much I enjoy this job. After a few years, I wanted a change and I decided to move to the Midlands and I joined the BattLab family.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
In my spare time I like going to the gym and keeping fit but I also like relaxing at home and playing with videogames, either on the PC or X-box.
Yours sincerely,
The BattLab team
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