A lab test for a pet can gain popularity quickly if it’s easy to run and read. However, there are many other things beyond the test itself that need to be taken into consideration.
On the first day of my microbiology rotation, the professor asked each of us to talk about what type of veterinarian we plan to be after graduation. Some of us are planning to find a job in a metropolitan area while some want to work in a rural area. The reason behind this talk is that the lab test that we choose to run is very largely dependent on the financial ability of our clients. We run tests basically every single day in practice, therefore, it’s necessary to familiarize ourselves with various factors that might affect our selections.
In addition to the financial ability of our clientele, there are numerous things we have to factor in when choosing which test to run or even whether we should run any test or not. Sensitivity and specificity are the most classic factors. If you are to be a practice owner, you might need to think about the original price of the test, whether you will purchase the test or not, how much you are going to charge the client, shelf-life of the test, or whether it would be more profitable to send the sample to an outside lab, etc. You also need to consider whether the initial test result might be sufficient so that an additional test is not needed.
Although many things we encounter during clinical rotation are seemingly not related to medicine, they are still good lessons for us to learn. They represent a broad range of expertise that might not be available through classroom lectures or textbooks.