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Comparison of direct in‐house cerebrospinal fluid cytology with commercial pathology results in dogs

Newton, P. L., Fry, D. R., Best, M. P.
The journal of small animal practice 2017 v.58 no.12 pp. 694-702
animal pathology, cell biology, cerebrospinal fluid, dogs, erythrocyte count, nervous system diseases
OBJECTIVES: To investigate the correspondence between in‐house direct cytological assessment of cerebrospinal fluid and results from a commercial veterinary pathology laboratory. METHODS: Prospective inclusion of samples from dogs that were presented for investigation of suspected neurological disease and had cerebrospinal fluid samples submitted to a commercial pathology laboratory for analysis. A board‐certified veterinary pathologist assessed all cerebrospinal fluid samples, and a line smear was assessed in‐house by two observers. Nucleated cell count, red blood cell count and differential cell counts were recorded and compared. RESULTS: In‐clinic and commercial pathology nucleated cell counts and red blood cell counts were strongly correlated. In‐house line smear results were compared with the gold standard of a defined dichotomous rating of ‘increased nucleated cell count’ provided by the external pathology service. Sensitivity was 93% and specificity 80% for samples with at least two cells per linear field. CLINICAL APPLICATION: Although not a replacement for the assessment of cerebrospinal fluid samples by specialist veterinary pathologists, this method can provide rapid and clinically meaningful information before externally processed sample results are available.