Our Services

NationWide Specialist Laboratory (formerly known as Dechra Specialist Laboratories originally Cambridge Specialist Laboratory Services) was formed in 1998 by a small group of scientists and technicians with many years of experience in veterinary diagnostics and radioimmunoassay. They saw a demand for the provision of a unique level of analytical quality in the field of veterinary endocrinology. The aim of the laboratory is to find the best or “gold standard” assay technologies for hormone analysis that can be made available to the veterinary profession at reasonable cost.

NationWide Specialist Laboratory is part of a group of long established independent veterinary laboratories dedicated to the improvement of animal health through direct support of veterinary practices in the UK and Worldwide.
These include:

  • NWL Poulton
  • NWL Leeds
  • NWL Knutton (formerly CAPL)
  • Abbey Veterinary Services

Full details can be found by visiting www.nwlabs.co.uk.


The measurement of hormones requires a higher level of analytical complexity than the “routine” clinical chemistries and usually requires techniques that depend on using antibodies to recognise the hormone molecules. These techniques are called immunoassays of which there are several kinds. Radioimmunoassay (RIA) techniques use low level radioactive materials as part of the detection system. This overcomes some of the problems of interference that can sometimes affect light-based detection systems such as enzyme immunoassay and chemiluminescence. Radioimmunoassay techniques are also more flexible and resilient when applied to a variety of species and sample types. Currently available chemiluminescence systems developed for human hormone analysis do not allow modification of assays to better suit veterinary patients. It is for these reasons that high quality radioimmunoassay techniques are the preferred choice of NationWide Specialist Laboratories.
Our interest in specialist methodologies has also given us the capabilities to expand our services to include special serology and drug monitoring.

Quality Assurance

We work to very high standards in laboratory practice to ensure you can have absolute confidence in our results. All analytical procedures and equipment are included in the internal quality system. All assay procedures are fully controlled using the relevant animal sera (Animal QC) and the laboratory participates in external quality assurance schemes where appropriate, including RIQAS for all biochemical analysis. All assays are fully validated for clinical use in every species if appropriate. NationWide Specialist Laboratory currently organises and runs the European Society of Veterinary Endocrinology (ESVE) External Quality Assessment Scheme.


All NationWide Specialist Laboratory personnel are highly qualified technical officers with many years experience in veterinary endocrinology and analytical procedures. The diagnostic services of the laboratory are supported by access to several world-renowned veterinary clinical and laboratory endocrinologists.

Research and Clinical Trial Assays

We have a very wide range of knowledge, expertise and equipment enabling us to do virtually any type of esoteric assay, some of which may require complicated and sophisticated sample preparation or assay procedures. All of our staff are trained to very high standards in laboratory practice and can work and follow any required standards or protocols.