At the Royal Veterinary College, our Diagnostic Services are provided by specialist pathologists, residents and technicians based at our Diagnostic Laboratories at the Hawkshead campus.

We offer a wide range of routine and specialist diagnostic services including:

  • Haematology
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology
  • Cytology
  • Anatomic pathology biopsy service 
  • Anatomic pathology post mortem examinations

Submission forms and pricelists:

The Service

Our service can be tailored to your needs, enabling the creation of individual profiles for your use at any time, keeping costs to a minimum.

We offer a same day service for routine in-house tests on samples received before 1.30 pm, under normal working conditions (this includes haematology, biochemistry and cytology). We pride ourselves on achieving the following goals:

  • To ensure the high standard of our work with internal and external quality control and assessments
  • To report your results as soon as they are available, by fax, email or by post
  • To liaise with other laboratories so as to provide a broad spectrum of tests
  • To keep all records for reference and repeat reports if required at no extra cost

The Team

Our team of specialist clinical and anatomic pathologists are committed to providing you with a comprehensive laboratory service for the patients in your care. Advice on managing your patients may be provided by discussing your results with the pathologists, or with the clinical experts in the QMHA or ERH.

All our diagnostic reports are routinely accompanied by expert veterinary pathological advice, and pathologists are always available to discuss results or provide further advice should you need it. Recommendations are automatically included where appropriate. Immunohistochemistry can also be performed in-house to achieve diagnoses.

Contact Us

 +44 (0)1707 666208

The Royal Veterinary College
Diagnostic Laboratory Services
Hawkshead Lane
United Kingdom

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Service Information and Submission Forms


Routine samples are analysed using a state-of-the-art haematology analyser.  An automated staining system is used for staining the blood smears to ensure consistency. All samples routinely have a manual differential cell count, platelet estimation, spun PCV and haemolysis check performed by an experienced technician to ensure the accuracy of the automated result before it is sent out.

When indicated further review is undertaken by a clinical pathologist. Tests including blood typing, cross matching and reticulocyte counts are manual techniques performed in-house by our experienced technicians.

Coagulation screens are also provided using automation, and these, including all the in-house tests, are completed on the same day as receipt of the samples (within 24 hours). This is one of the few laboratories with specialist experience in examining blood from avian and exotic species. The laboratory also participates in an external quality assessment scheme.


We run comprehensive biochemistry profiles for a wide range of species, small, large and exotic, offering a variety of smaller or larger panels. For specific projects or species we may be able to provide custom panels, please contact us to discuss. 

We run weekly and daily quality control, and participate in an External Quality Assurance Scheme. The majority of tests will be run in house, and reported on day of receipt, or next working day if a late submission.

In addition to standard biochemistry panels we also run tests such as fructosamine and BHB on a routine basis.

Hormone analyses are run throughout the week, including T4, TSH, and cortisol. We are able to provide guidance on interpretation in a number of species.

Routine urinalysis includes USG, dipstick (we report a 7 parameter screen), and microscopic sediment examination, with clinical pathologist cytology reporting also available on request. Additional testing, including clearance ratios may also be performed on request.

If we are not able to run a test internally we will find another suitable laboratory to refer your sample on, and provide appropriate guidance to interpretation using our experienced clinical pathology team.


These laboratories provide a comprehensive veterinary service to all users. There is continual updating of the sensitivities and these can be tailored to individual needs (e.g. large animal, small animal). Preliminary results may be available in 24-48 hours.Blood and fungal cultures require 8-14 days. Microbiology is also a CEMO approved laboratory.

The experienced technical team are supported by various experts from within the college who are authorities in their fields. The laboratory also participates in an external quality assessment scheme.

Anatomic Pathology

The anatomic pathologists provide professional expertise in post mortem examinations, histopathology and immunohistochemistry for all of the domestic species.

Farmed livestock are also examined in a partnership arrangement with the Animal Plant and Health Agency by our Farm Animal Pathology and Diagnostics services (FAPD). There is specialist expertise in forensic pathology and the team have developed comprehensive standard operating procedures for this work. Specialist legal reports are produced to assist in forensic investigations.


Cytology samples are submitted from a wide range of domestic, exotic and wildlife species. This is one of the few laboratories with specialist experience in all these species.

Cell counts are performed on all body fluids using either a manual or automated technique (dependent on fluid). Also included is a total protein and a full report from one of our team of experienced clinical pathologists. Other samples (e.g. washes, flushes, smears) have a full clinical pathologist report. The turnaround time for all cytology submissions is within 24 hours of receipt of the sample. Our clinical pathologists are also available to discuss results and for advice.

Our terms of business

Our Commitment to You

  • We will ensure the high standard of our work with internal and external quality control and assessments.
  • We will report your results as soon as they are available, by email and by post when required.
  • We will provide professional interpretation on reports where appropriate.
  • We will provide a same day service for routine in-house tests on samples received before 1.30pm, under normal working conditions. This includes Haematology, Biochemistry and Cytology.
  • We will liaise with other laboratories to provide a broad spectrum of tests.
  • We will maintain all records for reference and repeat reports if required.
  • Prepaid address labels are available on request (UK only).

Your Commitment to Us

  • You are responsible for full settlement of your account within 30 days of invoice.
  • You are responsible for completing the lab request form in as detailed a way as possible and responding to requests for further information in a timely manner.

Samples and Results

  • Unless otherwise agreed with us in writing, all samples received by us for Routine Diagnostic Testing Services shall be owned by RVC upon delivery of the sample to us or collection of the sample by us and, on the completion of Routine Diagnostic Testing Services, residual material may be retained, stored and used for diagnostic laboratory research and development, clinical audit or subsequent diagnostic testing. Any data or other results (and all intellectual property and other rights in them) arising from or generated from such use shall belong to RVC and can be used without any further consent.  Informed client consent will be sought before any residual material is used for original research.
  • Unless otherwise agreed with us in writing, all data, results, reports and advice produced by us as a result of our carrying out the Routine Diagnostic Testing Services shall be owned by RVC and may be used for such purpose(s) as we decide.
  • If you provide any data or information with, or relating to, the samples, we may use such data and information for our own purposes and may provide it to third parties in an anonymised manner. All personal data is held in full compliance with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and will only be passed to third parties where it is a legal requirement for us to do so or where we have your informed consent.
  • Prior permission must be obtained from the RVC Diagnostic Laboratories for the use of our interpretive reports in publications.

By using our laboratory testing or consulting services, you agree to the terms and conditions above.

If you have any queries, please contact us on: or 01707 666208
between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm (weekdays)

Price lists and submission forms

Current prices and forms:

Whilst making every effort to keep prices consistent on an annual basis, we reserve the right to increase certain prices without prior notification.

Diabetic Cats

In collaboration with colleagues in the RVC Diabetic Remission Clinic, Acromegalic Cat Clinic and Hypophysectomy Clinic we have created some tailored profiles to help with your Feline Diabetic patients, which includes measurement of IGF-1 (a screening test for acromegaly which affects 1 in 4 of all diabetic cats)

These profiles have been designed with a discount over the individual test prices to help you manage your Feline Diabetic Patients. All tests are also available as individual tests if required, please contact the laboratory if you wish for a single test price to be quoted. Haematology and Biochemistry results, including glucose and fructosamine, will usually be reported on day of sample receipt, hormone assays may have a longer turn around time, specific details can be provided on request.

Please NOTE the prepaid address label is ONLY available for use within the UK. For submissions from outside the UK postage should be paid for by the submitter at time of postage. If you need guidance on appropriate paperwork for submission of samples from outside the UK please contact us. 

deltaDOT/RVC Iohexol Assay

The new iohexol assay from deltaDOT/RVC provides a highly accurate measure of glomerular filtration rate in cats and dogs. Because GFR is directly correlated with functional renal mass, quantification of GFR is generally accepted as the best measure of renal function.

Please note that this test is provided by a separate laboratory within the RVC, which is not part of the Pathology and Diagnostic Laboratories Service.

See deltaDOT/RVC Iohexol Assay for more information, sample submission and contact details.

Neuromuscular Biopsy and Services

The Royal Veterinary College's Comparative Neuromuscular Diseases Laboratory provides a comprehensive diagnostic histopathology service for the evaluation of equine neuromuscular diseaseMuscle biopsy samples are examined using a variety of histochemical and immunohistochemical techniques.

Small animal (dog and cat) muscle samples are also received and evaluated in collaboration with Dr Diane Shelton's laboratory in California.

Please note that these tests are provided by a separate laboratory within the RVC, which is not part of the Pathology and Diagnostic Laboratories Service.

See Comparative Neuromuscular Diseases Laboratory for more information, sample submission and contact details.

New * Magnesium inclusion: Feline biochemistry profiles

News: June 2019 - Introduction of Magnesium to feline biochemistry profile

Based on new research carried out by renal experts at the RVC, the diagnostic labs are pleased to announce that measurement of total magnesium concentration is now routinely included in renal and comprehensive feline biochemistry profiles.   In a study of cats recently published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, RVC researchers found that magnesium measurement is useful as a prognostic indicator in cats with CKD, as low plasma magnesium concentrations at diagnosis of azotaemic CKD were associated with a higher risk of death for the cats involved in the study (

The RVC are currently raising awareness of this new information to vets in practice and to other diagnostic labs as it is likely that there will be increasing demand from general practitioners for access to this test for monitoring feline CKD patients in future.

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