Tools of the trade: Motic microscope

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Having a microscope can improve your ability to diagnose and treat patients in your practice.
Having a microscope can improve your ability to diagnose and treat patients in your practice.

Review by Dr Barry Odesnik, Vital Vet, Perth, WA

I’ve worked in many practices that don’t have the benefit of a good quality microscope and this discourages the clinician from using this under-utilised and potentially helpful tool. I purchased my Motic BA300 when I started this practice seven years ago.

What’s good about it

A good microscope improves your diagnostic skills and makes you a better practitioner. I use it every day for such things as evaluating skin cytology, fine needle aspirate cytology, urinalysis, faecal cytology, faecal wet preparations, joint fluid analysis and assessment of other body fluids.

Doing your own microscopy doesn’t eliminate the need for further advanced diagnostic work like histopathology but it gives you a good idea of what you’re dealing with, and allows you to make better decisions in terms of surgery and treatment. I think most vets don’t do their own microscope work simply because they don’t have the right equipment.

It’s very important to have a microscope that’s binocular. Monocular microscopes are very uncomfortable and don’t allow for a good interpretation of the image. Motic microscopes are also ergonomically designed so they’re easy to use and don’t cause fatigue. You can spend a fair amount of time at the eyepiece when dealing with lots of slides.

There is a range of different lenses that give different magnification. I use 4X, 10X, 40X and 100X oil. It’s important to have the microscope serviced regularly but overall the BA300 has been virtually problem free.

Some microscopes also have a camera port. A microscope camera allows owners and staff members to see the image you’re viewing in real time or capture a still image.

What’s not so good

The purchase price may be a limiting factor in that it could steer prospective users away from a purchase. However, the cost is not prohibitive and, over time, it will pay for itself again and again.

Where did you get it

Perth Scientific Equipment (www.perthscientific.com.au).

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