Body Fluids

Samples should arrive at the laboratory before 3:30 pm to allow sufficient time for processing. Results from samples submitted after 3:30 pm will usually be available the next day, but occasionally may be reported the same day.

For cytological evaluation of peritoneal, thoracic and synovial fluid submit:

  1. Fluid in EDTA (lavender – topped tube) for cell counts, protein, etc. (If bacterial culture is a possibility, please also submit a fluid in a plain tube or a swab.)
  2. Freshly made air-dried, unstained smears.
  3. Freshly made unstained smears from centrifuged sediment if the fluid appears to be of low cellularity. Smears should be labelled with the animal’s and owner’s names and the site.

Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF)

Samples require special cytocentrifugation and cell counting techniques before preparing the appropriate smears for cytologic evaluation. Cells do not preserve well in CSF and therefore the specimens must be analyzed immediately upon submission. Collect the CSF into an EDTA purple topped tube. Please notify the laboratory before drawing the CSF.

If submitting CSF via overnight courier, please call (902) 566-0859 for handling recommendations.

Solid Tissues

Impression smears and smears of fine needle aspirates of tissue are best submitted air-dried, unfixed and non-refrigerated.

Air-Dried – 2 or 3 slides prepared as for routine blood smear examination. Smears should be labelled with the animal’s and owner’s names and the site.

Please carefully label all submissions as to whether centrifugation has been used. If in doubt about the best samples to submit, call the laboratory before collecting samples.

Bone Marrow

Submit 10 -15 air- dried smears. Aspirate into a syringe containing EDTA. Smear marrow spicules by slide over slide crush technique.

If the marrow clots, fix in formalin and send to histopathology.


Urines should be split into a red-topped tube and a conical tube. Store the red-topped tube in the refrigerator. Centrifuge the remaining urine in a conical tube. Dispose of the supernatant and prepare smears from the sediment. Allow the smears to air-dry and maintain them at room temperature. Submit both the intact urine and the air-dried, unstained smears for cytologic evaluation.