Click on a category below to find answers to our frequently asked questions. If you have additional questions, please contact us.
Lab Test Submissions
How do I upload my specimens to Urika for lab test analysis?
It’s easy. Click here to fill out a submission form
What’s the average turnaround time for lab test results?
Tests are returned within 1-7 days of receipt.
Where do I mail my specimen samples?
URIKA Pathology 8712 53rd Place West, Mukilteo, WA 98275
Do you have tips for packing and preparing specimens?
Yes, please click here for instructions.
Should my cytology slides be prestained?
We recommend that stained and unstained preparations be sent as the sample. We encourage practitioners to check a stained slide to make sure that it is has material that may be diagnostic. We will look at practitioner stained smears to follow-up in-clinic diagnoses. However, diff-quik type preparations may be inferior in comparison to our laboratory stains (i.e. when diagnosing mast cell tumor). Therefore, we recommend that stained and unstained preparations be sent as the sample.
How many slides will be reviewed per sample?
We review four slides per cytology fee typically, though more may be reviewed with additional pricing at the discretion of the pathologist.
What further tests can my cytology sample be used for?
Especially if unstained smears are submitted, additional specialty testing such as immunocytochemical staining for cd markers and PCR for neoplastic or infectious diseases can be performed on aspirate tissue present on the slides. This means that the sample that you have already collected can be used for further testing without having to get the owner to bring the dog in again for a second invasive testing.
What if I take a cytology and biopsy sample from the same lesion?
Cytologies can provide rapid diagnoses and improve quality of medicine for the patient while histopathology evaluates architecture and may provide further definitive information. DO NOT place cytology slides in the sample box with formalin containers as the fumes from the formalin will also “fix” the aspiration or impression smear and create poor stain quality (blue out the stain) thus rendering the cytology sample unusable.
Blood Smear Samples
What is the best way to reduce errors in my hematology readouts?
1) Personnel training and
2) Regularly change your stains with screw capped lids.
The most common mistakes we see here at URIKA are made by technicians who were inadequately trained prior to being given responsibility with no further competency assessment. Everyone can make the initial mistake of misinterpreting stain precipitate, often due old stain that has been oxidized. Keeping screw caps on stain and regularly changing stain weekly reduced stain precipitate as well as contamination from infectious agents.
What components of the blood smear should we evaluate?
There are three main components that should be evaluated on every smear including RBC morphology and assessment of regeneration, WBC – evaluation of both morphology as well as cell counts significantly improves sensitivity of the CBC and is good QA for your analyzer, and platelets. Platelet measurement on hematology analyzers are notoriously inaccurate and so smear review is critical to accurate assessment.
Do you have tips for making and staining a blood smear?
Yes. Please click here to see recommendations from The University of Vermont.
What does histopathology include?
Histopathology includes the examination and subgross trimming of fixed tissues or biopsies. Trimmed tissues are paraffin embedded, sectioned and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. If a diagnosis requires additional testing of the tissues with selective histochemical or immunohistochemical methods, the pathologist will contact you and discuss the value of performing these additional tests, and the associated costs. Histologic changes in the tissues are interpreted and a report is prepared.
How should my tissues be submitted?
No larger than 1 cm cubes of tissue should be submitted in jars designed to withstand the 10% buffered formalin fixative. Specimen jars should be labeled with accompanying URIKA submission form. If you would like margins of a tumor evaluated, please ink the edges of the tissue.
What if my tissue is bigger than 1cm?
If there is a large mass for evaluation, we recommend you create 1 cm slices of tissue (breadloaf) to allow formalin perfusion. Please note that there may be additional fees for additional slides needed to complete a thorough evaluation.
How long does it take to get the results?
A. Depending on the urgency and type of analysis, the “turnaround” for standard biopsy (single tissue) samples will generally take between three and five days after received by URIKA. This means that the length of time for the return does not necessarily indicate which diagnosis the results will yield. Keep in mind, too, that some specimens may require additional studies, such as immunohistochemistry or molecular analysis, which can add to the duration as well.
What is Necropsy?
A necropsy is an autopsy for animals in which all the tissues are first evaluated by eye (grossly) for signs of disease. Tissues are collected for microscopic examination (histopathology). Microbiological samples are collected for culture if the gross examination suggests microbial infection. Other samples may be collected for ancillary testing (such as parasitology, molecular biology, etc.) if the gross findings suggest these are needed. Blood can be collected if the animal is presented alive. A gross report with preliminary findings is issued to the investigator and submitting veterinarian. Subsequently, histologic sections of all major organs and any grossly noted lesions are examined microscopically; the goal being to find gross and histologic changes that explain the disease process in the animal. A final report which integrates the gross and histopathologic lesions with ancillary tests, is issued to the investigator and clinical veterinarian at the conclusion of the case.
How do I know what to sample and send from the post mortem?
1. Always collect a sample of EVERYTHING and then ship as much as the client will allow. Hold the other tissues until the report is complete.
2. Samples collected for histologic exam should include both the organs with gross changes and those organ systems implicated by clinical signs or laboratory test results.
3. Cytology is an excellent way to augment your postmortem exams. Make impression smears of any lesions and all major organs prior to fixation. Label slides as to sites samples were collected. We are happy to look at them. These are charged as an additional tissue.
4. With fish, it is important to examine for and collect external protozoans, before you euthanize the animal. Many protozoa are difficult to identify on histology preparations.
Instrument Proficiency Testing
What is “Instrument Proficiency Testing”?
Simply put, URIKA tests your in-house instruments to make sure they are functioning properly and are producing accurate results. It’s a simple online process that ensures your instruments are functioning properly.
What’s the difference between “Instrument Proficiency Testing” and “UQA Certification”?
URIKA’s instrument testing allows clients to test one, two or more of their instruments for proficiency. UQA Certification is a comprehensive quality assurance program that examines six major components in your clinic by way of external quality assurance and proficiency testing. In order to receive the certification, you must meet the required guidelines set forth by the AAHA and ASVCP.
How will I receive my instrument’s test results?
All test results are accessible through the Client Center on our website. Simply login to your account to download your test results.
URIKA Quality Assurance Certification
What IS “UQA Certification”?
UQA Certification is a comprehensive quality assurance program that examines six major components in your clinic. To achieve certification, all required instruments in your lab must meet the required guidelines set forth by the AAHA and ASVCP. Certifications are customized to each clinic based on the instruments they use.
What will my clinic receive with UQA Certification?
1. Reports that rate your instrument’s accuracy, in relation to your peers.
2. A plan tailored specifically for your clinic’s overall quality assurance needs.
3. An official UQA certification symbol to display in your clinic, office or hospital.
4. Assistance in working with the instrument manufacturer in the event of a defect.
5. Assurance that your instruments and lab results are accurate and reporting properly.
What does UQA program offer that other programs do not?
All services include a written report by one of our clinical pathologists with a specialty in quality assurance. Additionally, if testing proves a manufacturer defect, URIKA will assist with securing manufacturer reimbursement, re-callibration, or repair. We also provide phone consultations and act as an objective external advisor to assist in your discussions with manufacturers, distributors, personnel, and others.
How is the UQA Certification customized to my clinic?
UQA certification guidelines are tailored specifically to your clinic. They include a customized external quality assurance (EQA) program, proficiency testing (PT) for your instruments, staff training checklists, SOP’s, team workshops, and a series of other QA services — as needed by your facility.
How does the UQA program work with instrument manufacturers?
Many veterinary professionals are angry because they’re stuck in a contract with a manufacturer, and their equipment isn’t working properly. In order to get a repair or replacement, the manufacturer requires evidence of the instrument’s malfunction. The UQA program offers the documentation necessary for manufacturer assistance. We will personally assist you in working with your manufacturer to resolve the errors found in your equipment.
How will I receive my instrument test results?
All test results are accessible through the Client Center on our website. Simply login to download your test results.
How do I submit my Quality Assurance Data?
Simply upload and share from your google drive account. Follow these easy instructions:
- Visit your Google Drive account
- Click the file upload button (located next to the Create button)
- From the file browser, select the file you wish to upload
- When Upload is complete, click "Share" in the upload flyout
- Invite your Urika representative to share the file. Or, choose "firstname.lastname@example.org"
What areas of instrument testing are needed for UQA Certification?
UQA Certification is contingent on the full testing and error resolution of your clinic’s equipment. Because each certification is customized to the clinic, you must answer a few questions so we can learn more about the instrument tests that are necessary for your clinic. You may begin by registering here.
Below is an overview of our instrument testing:
- Chemistry proficiency testing
- Hematology and chemistry proficiency testing (2 proficiency tests, once every six months)
- Chemistry proficiency testing (4 proficiency tests, once every three months)
- Hematology proficiency testing (4 proficiency tests, once every three months)
- Chemistry and hematology proficiency testing (4 proficiency tests, once every three months
What Makes URIKA Different?
Unlike other pathology labs, URIKA’s mission is focused on a whole approach to lab testing. We can send you the most accurate samples in the world, but if your team and instruments are working incorrectly, your diagnosis could be wrong. We want your internal tests to be just as accurate as our lab results. URIKA is one of the nation’s only pathology labs that offers online instrument testing and Quality Assurance Certification.
I’m having problems with billing or my online account.
If you are having problems uploading or downloading forms in your account or have billing questions, please send us an email. If you require immediate assistance, call 352-258-4055.
What are your office call-in hours?
Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm PST. Call us at 352-258-4055.