Red Cell Morphology
This section is used to report the finding of morphologic abnormalities of red cells
detected during the microscopic examination of the stained blood film.
For example, the specific type of shape abnormality (poikilocytosis) is reported
along with a qualitative estimation of its prevalence (many, few, very few...).
Spherocytes, schizocytes, acanthocytes, and eccentrocytes are among the most
commonly identified red cell shape abnormalities.
Numerous target cells (leptocytes) in a dog with severe cholestasis. Red cells with
this shape are a common, but relatively non-specific, finding in dogs.
Also reported here would be the presence of Heinz bodies, excessive red cell
size variation (anisocytosis), and increased numbers of polychromatophilic
red cells (immature anucleated red blood cells, which correspond to reticulocytes).
Skill and experience are needed to correctly identify significant poikilocytosis and
distinguish it from artifactual changes caused by poor sample handling and/or
For more information about the diagnostic relevance of red blood cell changes, please refer to RBC morphology.
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