FACILITIES

Listed below is a selection of the equipment we use here at Highgate Vets, please click on each section for a detailed explanation of each item.

Digital X-ray
Our digital X-ray machine is used almost every day and is very popular amongst the vets and nurses due to its ease of use and excellent image quality. It has many important uses, most obviously used for detection of broken or dislocated bones, but also the diagnosis of; joint abnormalities e.g. osteoarthritis and changes to the spine; lung and some heart diseases; kidney and bladder stones; detection of foreign bodies and much more! As the images produced are digital, copies can be saved directly to a patient’s record and can also be easily sent to referral practices such as Kentdale Orthopaedics if a second opinion or specialist surgery is warranted. Images can be easily enlarged or enhanced to allow very accurate diagnosis.

elizabeth-xray      guinea-pig-xray
Left: Elizabeth positioning a sedated kitten for an X-ray of her hind leg. The X-ray generator and computer screen which displays the X-ray image within 2 minutes of the radiograph being taken can be seen in the background.
Right: An X-ray of a guinea pig with a large bladder stone.

IM3 Elite dental station
Our dental unit is also is used everyday at Beezon Road. The ultrasonic scaler uses gentle but rapid movements to remove plaque and calculus deposits on the teeth. The high speed air-driven drill with in-built fibre optic light ensures fast, smooth cutting through teeth to minimise trauma to the patient when a large tooth needs to be removed and for surgical extraction of all dog and cat teeth. The rodent burr can be applied for rabbits, guinea pigs and other small animals to safely gain smooth, level edges of teeth which have signs of uneven wear.

nick-descaling-teeth      rabbit-teeth
Left: Nick using the ultrasonic scaler on a Jack Russell’s teeth.
Right: A spike on a rabbit’s molar tooth in the centre of the photo, prior to being burred away.

Ultrasound scanner
The ultrasound scanner also has many uses; diagnosis of pregnancy; womb infections; some cardiac abnormalities; pancreatitis; abdominal tumours and many more! The unit allows the pet’s abdominal organs such as the bladder or liver to be assessed, often without the need for a patient to undergo an anaesthetic using light sedation.

cat-scan      ultrasound
Left: A cat examines his own ultrasound scan!
Right: A labelled ultrasound scan of a dog’s abdomen.

Endoscope
Our fibre optic scope can be used to check for abnormalities in the chest, stomach and large intestine. The endoscope can reveal abnormalities in the lining of these organs that could not normally be seen such as ulceration of the stomach lining. The scope also helps us to see and occasionally be able to remove small items in the stomach without the need for surgery.

endoscope-and-dog-stomach
A photo taken using the endoscope to show the inflammation of the wall of a dog’s stomach

Electrocardiography (ECG) machine
The ECG machine is used for patients that are suspected of suffering from cardiac abnormalities when the rhythm of the heart is affected an ECG trace gives valuable information and diagnosis. The machine gives our vets a better understanding of the electrical activity of the heart and so how best to effectively treat a dysfunction.

Microscope
This piece of equipment is a very useful diagnostic tool that we use on a daily basis.
The microscope, alongside a range of chemical stains, is used in the lab to detect parasitic, bacterial and fungal infections which allows appropriate, prompt treatment helping to ensure a fast recovery for the patient. The microscope is also used for urine samples to detect cells and crystals which may explain abnormalities in a pet’s urine. Cells from lumps may be examined following sampling by a needle and syringe to give an indication of the type of mass which helps to determine whether removal of the lump is necessary. Blood smears can also be examined in cases of anaemia.

immature-tick      elizbeth-urine-sample
Left: An immature tick prior to a blood feed.
Right: Elizabeth using the microscope to examine a urine sample

Blood biochemistry analyser
Our blood testing machine is often used when a vet suspects that an older patient may have abnormal liver or kidney function. The quick tests can be carried out immediately following a blood sample which allows the vet to determine the necessary treatment. The tests are frequently used in older patients to ensure that the patient is in good health prior to an anaesthetic or prior to starting certain medications.

Video otoscope
This small piece of equipment is an excellent tool to help show owners the inside of their pet’s ears. We find that this is the best way to help our clients understand the discomfort and irritation caused by ear complaints; seeing the problem for themselves on the computer screen.

dog-earwax
A large plug of wax stuck in a dog’s ear seen by using the video otoscope

Blood pressure monitor
The monitor is used when the blood pressure is suspected of being too high such as in older cats with kidney, thyroid or cardiac disease, or too low in anaesthetised and critical patients. The machine is used to determine an average blood pressure over a series of readings and to act appropriately to ensure that the patient’s blood pressure remains within the normal, safe limits. We often perform routine measurements in older cats, with the owner in the consulting room and most cats tolerate this gentle procedure very well.

Anaesthetic monitoring devices
Qualified nurses use various monitors alongside stethoscopes to help determine an anaesthetised patient’s heart rate, breathing rate (Ap-alert) and the level of oxygen within their red blood cells (Pulse-Ox). This helps to ensure that an anaesthetic runs smoothly. The devices can be used alongside the blood pressure monitor to assess changes in critically ill patients.

nicole-and-rabbit
Nicole monitoring a rabbit recovering from anaesthetic

Drip warmers
As critically ill and anaesthetised patients are unable to control their own body temperature drip warmers are used to aid with this and help ensure patient comfort.

Weighing scales
As it is vital to have an accurate weight of a patient with which to calculate dosages we have three types of weighing scales in the practice. The large scales in the waiting room are generally for dogs, there are smaller weighing scales used for cats, rabbits and guinea pigs and we also have an even smaller weighing scales for mini patients such as hamsters. Our computerised patient notes mean that we can easily update a patient’s weight on their record and have easy access to their previous weights to monitor for changes.

cat-scales      dog-scales
Left: One of our cat weighing scales.
Right: The weighing scales in the waiting room for dogs in use.