Best Practices

Submission Information

Whether you are filling out a paper form or submitting to us online (online is our preference),
PLEASE always include 3 things:

Who?

1. Patient’s full signalment
(species, breed, sex, age)

What?

2. Pertinent medical history
(please do not send the entire medical record)

Where?

3. Full description of the lesion
(anatomic location, size, depth, gross description, ultrasound appearance, etc).

Cytology Preparation

Specimens can be obtained using aspiration and non-aspiration/woodpecker techniques depending on your preference. Once the specimen has been obtained, there are 2 vital steps that should be followed quickly to produce an optimal cytologic specimen:

1.

Using an air-filled syringe, force the specimen on a glass slide(s) and quickly create a monolayer. Cells of interest that are not in a monolayer cannot be easily assessed or interpreted.

2.

Facilitate rapid drying of the created cytologic specimen by blowing, waving, or adding very mild heat (hair dryer, not a flame). Cells of interest that dry slowly are often disrupted and destroyed.

We prefer to stain the slides with our automated stainer. However, we do not want to discourage our veterinary clients from looking at their own cytologies. If five slides are obtained from a lesion, consider staining 1-2 with your in-house staining method, and sending the additional 3-4 slides unstained.

Submitting Fluid Analysis

  • Fluids should ideally be collected into an EDTA tube (purple top), to prevent clotting.
  • Always prepare a few direct smears of the fluid and send them along with the vacutainer of fluid (label them as “direct” so we can interpret the cell volume correctly).
  • If enough fluid can be collected and it is not hemorrhagic or viscous, centrifuge a few milliliters, pour off the supernatant and make a few smears of the concentrated cells (be sure to label the slides as “concentrated”) and send these along with the direct smears and the fluid. This allows us to get the best possible look at any cells within the fluid before they begin to degrade over time.
  • Keep the fluid refrigerated. If sending via FedEx, include a small ice pack (our fluid analysis kits are great for this) and send overnight. If sending via courier, place an ice pack in the courier box unless overnight temperatures are below freezing.

Ask about our EVP fluid submission kits that include an ice pack, EDTA tube, foam insulation, and a slide container.

Submitting Urine or
Prostatic Washes for Cytology

Since urine is very acidic and will rapidly degrade cells, we have a few recommendations for getting the most from a urine/prostatic wash cytology.
  • If enough urine can be collected (3-6ml), immediately centrifuge a large aliquot of the urine. Pour off the supernatant and make several smears (blood smear style) of the precipitate. Allow these slides to quickly air dry.
  • Also, send a few milliliters of uncentrifuged urine along with the slides. Urine can be sent in a urine collection tube or plain white top vacutainer.
  • If enough fluid can be collected and it is not hemorrhagic or viscous, centrifuge a few milliliters, pour off the supernatant and make a few smears of the concentrated cells (be sure to label the slides as “concentrated”) and send these along with the direct smears and the fluid. This allows us to get the best possible look at any cells within the fluid before they begin to degrade over time.
  • Keep the urine refrigerated. If sending via FedEx, include a small ice pack (our fluid analysis kits are great for this) and send overnight. If sending via courier, place an ice pack in the courier box unless overnight temperatures are below freezing.
1. Fresh urine sample
2. Spin down as soon as possible
3. Pour off the supernatant
4. Gently mix to reconstitute the sample
5. Transfer the reconstituted sample to glass slides and make blood smear-type smears, and promote fast air drying

Submitting Liver Biopsy for
Copper Quantification

If you suspect that the liver biopsy you collect may need to be sent for copper quantification, please note the following guidelines:
  • Samples may be submitted in formalin. There is no need to send in saline.
  • The copper quantification requires at least 10 grams of liver tissue. Because of this, trucut samples often are not sufficient. A wedge biopsy is recommended if you anticipate needing the copper quantification

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