All accounts are billed during the first week of each month for the preceding month’s charges, with 30 day terms. Payment to the account is expected within 30 days of the statement date and financial charges will be applied to balances carried forward beyond 60 days. Billing is done by statement only-no invoices.
Payment options include cheque and credit card (VISA and Mastercard). Please contact the accounts receivable department for a release form to activate automatic credit card payment or to discuss any questions or concerns you may have regarding your account. Charges to your credit card will occur on the 1st or 2nd of each month unless otherwise requested by client.
CLINICAL LABORATORY SERVICES
True North Veterinary Diagnostics is a full service laboratory providing a wide variety of testing including:
Hematology, Chemistry, Microbiology, Parasitology, Endocrinology, Serology, Immunofluoresence Testing (IFA), Histology, Coggins Testing (EIA)
COLLECTION TUBES AND SPECIMEN CONTAINERS
BLOOD AND URINE SUBMISSIONS
SST (SERUM SEPARATOR TUBE). This tube contains a clot activator and separator gel. Invert the tube to activate clotting and allow to stand in an upright position for 20-30 minutes before centrifuging. Centrifuge for 10-15 minutes to ensure good separation. If submitting frozen transfer the serum to a plastic tube (do not freeze fluids in glass tubes).
RTT (RED TOP TUBE). This is a plain sterile, additive-free vacuum tube. It can be used for collecting serum as well as a general collection container for urine, tissue, and for collection of fluid for culture. When a test is designated for a RTT, do not substitute an SST tube as the gel barrier may interfere with analysis (e.g., the gel will absorb Phenobarbital; the gel can cause falsely decreased values in progesterone).
LTT (LAVENDER TOP TUBE). This tube contains EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) and is used in most hematological analyses. LTT should not be used for submitting samples for culture as the EDTA is bacteriostatic.
GTT (GREY TOP TUBE). This tube contains sodium fluoride and potassium oxalate. Fluoride poisons glycolysis so cells using glucose by glycolysis aren’t able to. If the plasma is not separated soon after collection red cell lysis occurs and will affect result accuracy.
BTT (LIGHT BLUE TOP TUBE). This tube contains sodium citrate as the anticoagulant. It is imperative to properly fill the tube. For the 2.7 ml 1.8 ml of blood is required. A “clean stick” is imperative. Invert the tube 6-10 times immediately after collection.
GRNTT (GREEN TOP TUBE). This contains lithium heparin as the anticoagulant. Plasma from these tubes can be substituted for serum for some chemistry tests. Heparinized whole blood is preferred to EDTA whole blood for preservation of cell morphology in some species (especially ostrich).
DBTT (DARK BLUE TOP TUBE). There are two types of dark blue top tubes-one with EDTA and the other is additive free. These are used in the collection of whole blood or serum for trace mineral analysis.
ACT TUBES. These tubes are used as a crude screen of coagulation. A tube containing diatomaceous earth is filled with 2 ml of blood and then inverted 5 times. Keep the tube at body temperature (e.g. under arm) checking every thirty seconds for complete clot formation.
Patient information and as complete a history as possible is important in arriving at a diagnosis and in formulating appropriate comments. Preparing and reading cytologic specimens will be carried out at the lab with cytologic results available within 24 hours (in most cases, same day).
General recommendations are:
True North has a complete histology department for preparing histologic specimens and most histologic reports will be available within 3-5 days of specimen receipt and processing. Exceptions will be those specimens requiring inspection and dissection by a pathologist, specimens requiring decalcification and specimens requiring additional fixation time.
Most tissue samples should be submitted in 10% buffered formalin. It is imperative to include patient information including species, breed, sex, age and site or origin of the specimen. Including clinical history is especially helpful to the pathologist in providing as complete a diagnosis as possible.
Guidelines for proper submission are as follows:
Causes of artifact:
Various collection and transport vessels are provided by the laboratory ie. anaerobic culture media, calgi swabs (avian), campylobacter transport media, clostridium perfringens kit, culturette swabs, viral/mycoplasma/ureaplasma transport media, etc. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results and check the expiration date before using. Precise anatomic site of the specimen is important for proper processing. Note this information on the requisition form.
Specimens should be collected prior to initiating antibiotic therapy. This is especially true with blood cultures. If the animal is on antibiotic therapy, it is best to withhold therapy for at least 72 hours before collection, or immediately after the administration of the initial dose. Centers of necrotic lesions or purulent lesions may not show growth even in the face of infection.Please refer to the bacteriology section for further instructions on the necessary collection procedures for different organisms. Gram stain can be done on specimens submitted as air-dried slides or culturettes. Please note: Quantitative urine cultures cannot be provided on a swab.
Whole body submissions: Necropsy service will be provided however due to size and refrigeration constraints, animals greater than 10 kg will not be accepted. Animals larger than this can be submitted to the Animal Health Center in Abbotsford ( (604) 556-3003). Remains following necropsy at True North will not be released back to the owner or veterinary clinic/practice. Arrangements can be made to have the remains delivered to an appropriate service for purposes of cremation if so desired. Please specify if cremation is to be communal or private and if there is a preferred cremation company. To decrease the rate of autolysis after death, the body should be cooled by refrigeration or by placing ice packs around the body. Do not freeze however as this introduces artifact. Please submit the body in a sealed plastic bag to prevent leakage of bodily fluids. Wrapping the body in blankets or tarps will speed autolysis and should be avoided. Please provide as much clinical history as possible. Pricing is based entirely on professional time required of pathologist in which to perform the necropsy. If you would like a more definitive price please have the attending veterinarian contact the pathologist prior to submission to discuss the case. Quotes from laboratory staff are for general information purposes only.
Tissue submissions: Submit representative samples from all organ systems in 10% buffered formalin for histologic examination. Include a complete description of any gross lesions found and include a clinical history.
COURIER SERVICE DEPARTMENT
Our courier network for the greater Vancouver area and Fraser Valley region will combine our own company couriers and commercial couriers with specific contracts to True North. When you initiate an account with True North you will receive information regarding the courier service in your area along with a start up package including lab manual, supplies etc.
All clinics will receive two to three daily pick-ups Monday through Friday. There will be one to two pick-ups on Saturday and one on Sunday. In the beginning, all clients are requested to call in when they require a pick-up. Cut-off times will be in effect and these will be on record at each of the laboratories. In time, those clinics with frequent pick-ups will be placed on a no-call-necessary list and pick-ups will be automatic.
Samples can be dropped off at the laboratory during business hours. The business hours are as follows:
LANGLEY: 8 AM-10 PM MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY; 9:00 AM-10 PM SATURDAY; 12 PM-7 PM SUNDAY
QUALITY CONTROL/QUALITY ASSURANCE
All testing at True North Veterinary Diagnostics is directed by board certified Veterinary Clinical Pathologists. Individual departments will be managed by registered technologists and testing will be performed by a combination of qualified registered and non-registered technologists and technical aides. True North will subscribe to proficiency testing surveys provided by the Veterinary Laboratory Association. Through these programs we will be comparing our test results with peer laboratories throughout the world. True North will maintain a comprehensive quality assurance program including commercial assayed, multi-level controls and in house prepared controls. Controls will be run daily with each group of specimens. It is our intention to seek and achieve laboratory wide ISO 17025 accreditation.
Most tests run in house will be available within 24 hours. The results can be reported via the phone, email or fax. Tests with longer reporting times such as histologies, bacteriology and necropsies will be reported as they are completed. Test reporting times are provided in this True North Veterinary Diagnostics Services Manual-see individual test description for details. Please note: True North Veterinary Diagnostics is licensed to deal with veterinary clinics only. As a result, requests to have test results reported to owners via email, phone or fax will unfortunately not be fulfilled.
SPECIMEN COLLECTION AND PREPARATION
Tests pertaining to blood are performed on whole blood, plasma or serum. Generally it is advised to refrigerate samples until they are received by the courier for transport to the laboratory. Please note individual test notations in this Directory for specific instructions.
Draw a sufficient amount of blood into a collection tube with the indicated anticoagulant to yield the necessary plasma volume and proper ratio of blood to anticoagulant. Most species have a PCV between 30 and 50 percent and 3 ml of whole blood will yield between 1 and 1.5 ml of plasma. Gently mix the blood by inverting the tube 6-10 times. If indicated, separate plasma from cells by centrifugation as soon as possible.
Draw a sufficient amount of blood with the indicated anticoagulant to ensure proper dilution. Mix by gently inverting the tube 6-10 times.
Draw a sufficient amount of blood into an SST or RTT to yield the necessary serum volume. Allow blood to clot in an upright position at room temperature. Centrifuge after 20-30 minutes. Serum can be pipetted off the cells from a RTT and poured off from an SST tube.
Draw into the tubes with additive (lavender or green tops) to between the indicated fill marks, gently inverting 8-10 times to prevent coagulation. The non-additive red top may be filled to any point and handled as serum.
Supplies for purposes of sample submission can be ordered by simply returning a Supply Request form at the time of a sample pick-up, faxing an order in to the lab directly, or calling in the order via telephone. Blank supply request forms can be obtained by calling the lab. The forms will be delivered via courier during the next pick-up or if you wish, a copy faxed to your facility. Please allow for 3 business days for delivery of supplies (although in most cases the order will be filled the next business day).
Supplies provided by the laboratory at no extra charge include:
ALPHA-1 PROTEASE INHIBITOR KITS (3 TUBES PER KIT)
BLUE TOP TUBES: sodium citrate, 2.7 ml, citrated plasma used for coagulation testing.
GREEN TOP TUBES: heparin, 4 ml, heparinized whole blood or plasma. Heparinized blood can be used for most chemistries.
GREY TOP TUBES: sodium fluoride/potassium oxalate, 2 ml.
HEMATOCRIT CAPILLARY TUBES: heparin.
LAVENDER TOP TUBES: EDTA, 2 and 6 ml, whole blood for hematology testing, fluids submitted for cytology.
MICROTAINER GREEN TOP: 1.3 ml, heparinized whole blood for avian and exotic hematology testing, heparinized plasma can be used for most chemistries.
MICROTAINER LAVENDER TOP: 1.3 ml, whole blood for avian and exotic hematology.
MICROTAINER SST: 1.3 ml, serum for chemistries, immunology, serology and endocrinology. Used mainly for avian/exotics.
RED TOP TUBES: no additive, 5 and 10 ml, serum for chemistries, endocrinology, therapeutic drug monitoring, serology, immunology, urine for urinalysis and cultures, fluids for culture.
SERUM SEPARATOR TUBES-3.5 and 5 ml: serum for chemistries, immunology, serology and endocrinology.
TRACE ELEMENT TUBE: zinc testing, 7 ml.
TISSUE SPECIMEN CONTAINERS: 90 ml
ANAEROBIC CULTURE MEDIA: solid
CALGI SWABS (AVIAN)
CAMPYLOBACTER TRANSPORT MEDIA
CLOSTRIDIUM PERFRINGENS KIT*
VIRAL/MYCOPLASMA/UREAPLASMA TRANSPORT MEDIA*
*Shipping charges may apply
PLASTIC BAGS, REQUISITION FORMS, SLIDE MAILERS, STYROFOAM MAILERS, SUPPLY REQUEST FORMS, LABORATORY MANUAL
ACT TUBES: (activated clotting time) Tubes can be obtained from the lab at a cost of $3.47 per tube.
BLOOD CULTURE VIALS: can be obtained from the lab at a cost of $14.17 per vial.