Tools of the trade: Olympus CX-21 microscope

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olym-lgby Jane Sutherland VN, Frenchs Forest Veterinary Surgery, Petrie, QLD

We’ve had this microscope for years and it’s used constantly in our practice. It’s completely manual with no camera or video attachments but is still a vital part of our diagnostic procedures.

What’s good about it

The microscope is used for investigating lumps, blood smears and a number of other things but we find it most useful for urine analysis. It gets used very frequently as we do a free urinalysis test for all our patients when they come in for a vaccination.

We take a sample from the animal and spin it down in our StatSpin centrifuge. We then empty out the urine and place any crystals or sediment on a slide under the microscope. The vet has a look and can identify inflammatory or abnormal cells. Sometimes they can also see blood and protein casts. The results help us to diagnose diabetes, bladder infections, inflammation or sterile cystitis.

Our vets have done a lot of study on microscopy and are well-versed in distinguishing various conditions. Occasionally, we have to send the slides off to the lab but we generally get a good idea of the problem from just looking under the microscope.

There’s no doubt that a microscope is an absolute necessity for every veterinary practice.

What’s not so good

If we upgrade our microscope, we will definitely get the video attachment so we can show the clients what we’re seeing. It’s also important to ensure that the microscope is kept clean. If there’s a bit of old immersion oil or something like that left behind, it can hinder the sample.

Where did you get it

Our microscope is very old but newer Olympus models are available from veterinary retailers such as Austvet Endoscopy.

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