Buster, an 8-year-old, neutered male Labrador retriever, was presented for a wellness examination. Buster was doing well at home, up-to-date on preventive care, and had an unremarkable history. On physical examination, Buster was bright, alert, and responsive, with a BCS of 3/5, pink and moist mucous membranes, and a CRT <2 sec. Buster had heavy dental calculus, a slab fracture of his left maxillary fourth premolar, moderate gingivitis, and bilaterally enlarged submandibular lymph nodes. Thoracic auscultation and abdominal palpation were within normal limits. With the exception of mild crepitus in his right hip, the remainder of Buster’s physical examination was unremarkable.
A CBC and serum chemistry profile were run on the practice’s in-house analyzers. Buster’s fecal sample was centrifuged, then read by the Vetscan Imagyst system, which uses artificial intelligence to identify parasites. All test results were within normal limits.
The veterinarian recommended a dental cleaning and extraction of the fractured tooth but first wanted to determine whether Buster’s lymphadenopathy was reactive or indicative of other disease. Buster’s owner, concerned Buster was in pain from his tooth, was hesitant to authorize lymph node aspiration. She recalled a prior experience in which she had waited anxiously for cytology results, postponing other diagnostics and treatment, only to find that the sample had been non-diagnostic. The veterinarian advised Buster’s owner that the practice had recently acquired a new system that allowed them to send cytology images to a board-certified clinical pathologist and receive a report within a matter of hours. Based on this information, Buster’s owner consented to aspiration and left Buster at the hospital for a few hours.