Collection of a peripheral blood sample allows a practitioner the opportunity to perform a complete blood count (CBC), which includes automated analysis of the blood and microscopic evaluation of the peripheral blood smear.
The peripheral blood smear (blood film) not only confirms and refines numeric data reported by the hematology analyzer, but also adds useful information when evaluated by a trained microscopist:
- Red blood cell (RBC) quantity (RBC count, hematocrit, hemoglobin)
- RBC indices (mean cell volume, mean cell hemoglobin concentration, RBC distribution width)
- White blood cell (WBC) count
- WBC differential
- Platelet count
- Platelet indices (mean platelet volume)
Each of the following cases highlight different reasons why it remains important for trained personnel to examine blood films even when an advanced, automated hematology analyzer is used to obtain data.
CBC = complete blood count; RBC = red blood cell; WBC = white blood cell
Case 1: Lameness & Pyrexia
A 10-month-old, female bloodhound presented for acute onset shifting leg lameness and pyrexia (104° F/40° C). Table 1 provides blood analysis results; Figures 1 through 3 show the blood films.