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Clinical Pathology


Samples for Cytology

All cytology submissions must come with a completed request form that is specific for cytology - cytology submission form.  For additional information and tips on sample handling to optimize cytology results, click on cytology sample collection and handling.

Important points when filling out the cytology request form:

  • Please use one cytology submission form per patient
    • One form can be used for multiple samples or tests from an individual patient
  • Please provide a complete history: This is vital to our interpretation of results!
    • Signalment: Species, breed, age and sex of patient
    • Location of the mass, including joint, bone or other organ involvement
      • For cerebrospinal taps, specify if you have collected the fluid from the atlanto-occipital (AO or cervical) or lumbosacral (LS) region as result interpretation is very dependent on site.
      • For tracheal washes please indicate if the sample was collected via transtracheal aspiration (TTW) or whether it was collected through an endoscope (scope).
    • Description of the lesion(s) – size, consistency
    • Imaging findings, e.g. for a pleural effusion tell us if you have seen radiographic or ultrasonographic evidence of thoracic masses and what their location and size are.
    • Other pertinent results, e.g. attach a copy of a recent (24-48 hour) hemogram with bone marrow requests.
  • ‘Other diagnostic tests requested’ field
    • Use this field to order other Clinical Pathology or Diagnostic Laboratory tests, e.g. ordering a CBC with a Bone Marrow Cytology or a culture with a tracheal wash cytology.

Below is a check-list of samples required for our different cytology tests.

Samples check list

* A red-top tube should be submitted if any chemistry tests (e.g. urea nitrogen, triglycerides, glucose) or culture is requested from the fluid. For bloody body cavity fluids, place some fluid in a red-top tube to determine if the sample clots.

** For fluid samples, whenever possible, please also submit 2-3 smears made from the freshly collected fluid and specify if you have made the smears from concentrated or centrifuged (sediment smears) or unconcentrated (direct smears) fluid on the request form and smears (if making more than one type of smear). This helps minimize changes which occur with storage (e.g. cell lysis, bacterial overgrowth) which can impact cytologic results.

*** Submit 2 or more line smears of the fresh urine sediment. This helps minimize changes which occur with storage (e.g. cell lysis, bacterial overgrowth) which can impact cytologic results.