Potton Vets is a diagnostic practice. A diagnostic approach means that we want to find out what is wrong with your pet as soon as possible to get them feeling better from the very first visit Earlier, more accurate diagnoses mean better outcomes and fewer visits to the vet for you and your pet!
Equipment used in the consulting room:
We are very fortunate to have a vet in the clinic who is an Advanced Practitioner in Diagnostic Imaging to help set up equipment and procedures.
We have invested in the right equipment, facilities and expertise. We believe we are one of the best equipped and efficient clinics in the area. We want to make sure we offer your pet the very best care. To do a proper and thorough clinical examination, we need to use a variety of equipment, in addition to our hands and eyes;
– Stethoscope – to listen to the heart and lungs – Ophthalmoscope – to examine the structures in the eyes
– Otoscope – to explore the ears canals
– Thermometer – to measure the temperature
– Schirmer tear test – to measure tear flow
Anaesthetics are now much safer than they used to be. This is dependant on the type of anaesthetic used, the anaesthetic equipment, the level of monitoring and the monitoring equipment used.
We have anaesthetic machines that deliver oxygen and Isofluorane by breathing tube to keep your pet safely asleep. Once the anaesthetic is switched off, your pet your pet wakes up quickly, monitored by a nurse.
While they are asleep, they are continuously monitored by a nurse with the help of a capnograph and pulse oximetry which allows us to keep them safely asleep and to make fine adjustments to the anaesthetic, as required
We have a dedicated, sterile theatre, only used for surgical procedures, where the vets and nurses all wear caps and masks and the surgeons wear sterile gowns and gloves for every procedure to help prevent infection and reduce antibiotic use.
We have a wide range of surgical equipment that allows us to do everything from lump removals and abdominal surgery to advanced orthopaedic (bone) surgery [link to MMP page]. All surgical equipment is processed in-house in our autoclave and made into sterile, single-use surgical packs to ensure sterility for your pet’s safety.
We use an ultrasonic scaler and polishing equipment to clean your pet’s teeth thoroughly. The ultrasonic scaler is the same as your dentist uses. The tip of the scaler vibrates to remove the tartar from the tooth surface and from below the gumline. Once the mouth is thoroughly clean, we can evaluate the teeth for abnormalities. Dedicated dental x-rays are essential in deciding if the tooth needs to be extracted or not. We use them after extraction again to check that the entire tooth has been removed.
Without dental x-rays, we cannot see what is happening under the gums of our patients. We believe the routine use of dental x-ray to be the gold standard in animal dentistry – just as it is in human dentistry.
If extractions are required we have a wide range of sterilised equipment available. Simple extractions for single rooted teeth and surgical extractions for multi-rooted teeth which are more effective and less traumatic (so produce less pain and heal quicker) than just trying to lever the tooth out.
To examine urine correctly we have dipsticks, a refractometer to measure the concentration accurately and a microscope to test the urine for signs of infection or crystals which help us in making accurate diagnostics and giving the right treatment.
Testing the urine is a simple and effective way to screen for many diseases.
The ability to test for a broad range of blood changes in-house is essential for making diagnoses so that we don’t waste time and money while we wait for results.
Blood sampling machines.
This is an essential part of our laboratory. We have the latest and best haematology machine (which analyses the physical aspects of blood), which count red cells, the various white cells, clotting cells.
Our blood chemistry machine again is top of the range and measures many of the chemical changes in the blood which will often give us a diagnosis (e.g. hyperthyroidism) and clues as to where to look next.
An ultrasound scanner has a probe which gives off high-frequency sound waves through soft tissue. These waves echo back to produce an image on the screen.
Ultrasound is a safe and non-invasive way to examine the internal organs. The structures we look at are the liver, spleen, kidneys, bladder, stomach, small intestines, large intestines, gallbladder, pancreas, prostate (males), uterus and ovaries (entire females) and abdominal lymph nodes. Heart examination is also made using the ultrasound machine, and we call this “echocardiography”. The ultrasound machine has functions to measure heart chamber size, heart muscle thickness and blood flow. We also look at the structure of the heart and heart valves. From these measurements and a structural examination, we can evaluate heart health.
X-ray As a diagnostic clinic, we have an up to date digital x-ray machine and developer.
X-rays have a wide variety of uses, but some of the typical applications are investigating broken bones, abdominal problems, arthritis, heart and lung problems. The list of other uses is too long to list.
The patient needs to be perfectly still and placed in a fixed position to obtain a diagnostic quality image. To keep the patient in this position, it is often necessary to use sedation or general anaesthesia.
Our microscope is one of the most widely used pieces of equipment in the clinic. It allows us to magnify blood cells, urine cells, cells from masses on the
skin, or in the abdomen (ultrasound-guided biopsies), or from cells collected from laparoscopic procedures, endoscopy,
We will often use it to check that we have representative samples of masses of cells before we send it to an external laboratory.
An ECG machine is essential in evaluating the heart (as it is in human medicine).
It traces the electrical activity of the heart and gives us a lot of information to help us make a diagnosis and choose the best treatment.
Blood pressure machine:
High blood pressure is a problem in animals, just like in humans, but the device needed to measure it is more complicated.
We use an inflatable cuff (like a doctor) but we need to use doppler ultrasound to hear the changes in the pulse as the blood vessels are too small to be able to use a stethoscope.
Increased eye pressure leads very quickly to blindness, so being able to measure the eye pressure is essential.
We apply a local anaesthetic to the surface of the eye to relieve discomfort and use a tonometer to measure the pressure.
Our class IV therapeutic laser is used after operations to reduce pain and speed healing and can also be used for chronic pain relief (e.g. arthritis)
Laparoscopic surgery is also called “keyhole” surgery or minimally invasive surgery.
A laparoscope is a small fibreoptic tube (5 millimetres) with a light source and camera that can see inside the abdomen.
Without the laparoscopic equipment, we had to open up the abdomen with a significant incision. Open surgery is more painful for the pet and carries a longer recovery time. By using a laparoscope, we can explore the abdomen and take samples more efficiently, cause less pain, have smaller wounds and quicker recovery times. These tiny holes are usually a half to one centimetre in length. The laparoscope is used in combination with instruments and a monitoring screen for the camera. Keyhole surgery is used in dog spays, gastropexy (procedure to prevent gastric torsion), exploratory procedures and to take biopsies (samples).
An endoscope is a flexible, manoeuvrable, fibreoptic tube that has a light source and camera that enables us to look inside the body without having to do surgery.
It is mainly used to investigate the stomach, small intestine and colon and can also be used to remove foreign bodies and take biopsies
A Bronchoscope is a particular type of endoscope that is used to investigate the trachea and lungs and can be used to examine, take samples and remove foreign bodies
A Rhinoscope is a very narrow, rigid endoscope that allows investigation of the nasal cavity to examine, take samples and remove foreign bodies