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Dog Days are (almost?) Over: Part One

Here at Instapath, we are animal lovers! In fact, we each have at least one dog as a furry family member. One of our team members, Kristin, had a particularly anxiety-inducing experience at the vet with her dog Rowdy. It got us all thinking how digital pathology could play a significant role in improving the patient care of our furry friends and help their owners at the same time.

Rowdy developed a growth on his ear so Kristin took him to the vet. Upon examination, the vet suggested a biopsy to check if the growth was a malignant tumor and then explained to her that results would be available in about 10 days. “I can’t wait that long,” Kristin worried. “I want to know now.”

The tissue obtained during the biopsy would need to be sent to an off-site lab where it would be processed and evaluated by a specialist veterinary pathologist. The 10 days of not knowing made her very anxious. This amount of time could make the difference between life and death because she wouldn’t know what’s going on inside of Rowdy until the results came back.

Kristin’s head started filling with questions. “Why does it have to be sent to a lab? Why can’t it be processed here? Are any vets asking these same questions?” All of this she pondered while the vet calculated the cost of the biopsy and went over recovery instructions post-biopsy. Kristin would need some of her own recovery time after hearing the cost: $1000. A new question emerged: why is it so expensive?

Around this same time, Kristin started working at Instapath and was learning about all of these new solutions to get faster evaluations from biopsies. The solutions didn’t include the biopsy being sent off to a lab for processing. Technologies actually exist enabling biopsy evaluation at point of the procedure through cutting edge digital pathology imaging systems. This would dramatically cut back on the waiting period for results if her vet used this same technology. It could also lower cost since a third-party lab with special equipment wouldn’t need to be utilized. Why aren’t these solutions being applied in the veterinary care setting?

Getting the biopsy for Rowdy should have been an easy decision for Kristin to make. With less expensive, quicker results, choosing the biopsy would have been a no-brainer. The fact that she had to even weigh her options of not having the biopsy performed caused even more angst. Ultimately, Rowdy had the biopsy and after 10 days of anxiously waiting, the results came back benign. Rowdy is in good health and Kristin is now on a tight budget.

Stay tuned for part two where we talk about digital pathology and efficiencies in workflow and cost for veterinary providers and pathologists.

Built on the vision of better patient outcomes, Instapath was founded in 2017 by engineers and scientists to enable patients to immediately know their cancer diagnosis. Our team made it our mission to develop fast and easy digital pathology technology so diagnosis can be made in minutes instead of days. To learn more about Instapath and our technology, visit or contact us at

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