Ophthalmic histopathology submission form

CYTOLOGY
Sample Advice - General Considerations

Please complete the submission form including the animal’s full signalment, a complete clinical history and your clinical impression/differential diagnoses. This information will ensure correct interpretation of the pathologist’s findings.

All specimens should be labelled with at least the name of the animal and the owner so that identification of the specimens can be verified.

Formalin should never be added to non-histopathology specimens (please see the CSF section for the exception). Formalin and even formalin fumes fix the cell membranes and this reduces the ability of our cytological stains to penetrate, with consequent loss of staining detail. We highly recommend histopathology specimens be sent separately from other specimens to avoid the inadvertent contamination of these other specimens with formalin fumes.

lymphoid cells

Wright-Giemsa stained smear of lymphoid cells affected by formalin fumes and demonstrating severe loss of internal cellular detail.

 

lymph node

Wright-Giemsa stained smear of lymphoid cells unaffected by formalin fumes and demonstrating excellent internal cellular detail.



Sample Advice - Specific Considerations

Solid tissue samples (e.g. solid tumours, surface scrapings of mucous membranes/skin)

Please submit up to 4 air-dried, unstained smears on frosted slides.


Fluid filled solid tissue samples (eg abscesses, cysts, seromas, solid tumours with cystic/fluid centres eg thymomas)

Please submit up to 4 air-dried, direct, unstained smears of the liquid component together with liquid in EDTA. When anatomically achievable, please also send up to 4 air-dried, unstained smears of the solid edge of the lesion.


Thoracic, abdominal, pericardial and joint fluids

Please submit

  1. fluid in EDTA (need to prevent clotting for a reliable nucleated cell count) – ensure good mixing and fill the EDTA tube to the fill-line. For very viscous joint fluid, we recognise good mixing can be difficult

  2. 2x  air-dried, unstained, direct smears of the fluid

  3. if you have a centrifuge available, any excess fluid can be spun down, the supernatant discarded, and air-dried, unstained sediment smears prepared. Please mark them ‘sediment’

Note:  EDTA samples are not suitable for bacterial culture.


Flush fluid
(e.g. bronchoalveolar lavage, nasal flush, prostatic wash)

Please submit

  1. fluid in plain or EDTA (because the cells are diluted by the large volume of flush fluid, clotting is not really an issue and so the use of EDTA is not imperative in this case)

  2. up to 4 air-dried, unstained, direct smears

  3. if you have a centrifuge available, any excess fluid can be spun down, the supernatant discarded, and air-dried, unstained sediment smears prepared. Please mark them ‘sediment’


Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)

Due to the normally extremely low cellularity of CSF fluids it is not usually worthwhile preparing direct smears for submission. This is one special situation in which we would like you to send a formalinised sample.

Please submit:

  1. fluid in plain

  2. fluid in plain + 1 drop of 10% formalin

Please mark the tube containing the formalin (this is important – we perform different tests on the different tubes).


Urine for cytology +/- urinalysis

Please submit:

  1. urine in plain

  2. multiple (up to 4) air-dried, unstained, direct smears

  3. if you have a centrifuge available, any excess fluid can be spun down, the supernatant discarded and air-dried, unstained sediment smears prepared. Please mark them ‘sediment’

Please mark the tube containing the formalin (this is important – we perform different tests on the different tubes).


smear of CSF  

Important Note :  Our definition of a plain tube is one that has no additives eg microcentrifuge tubes. Please do not use blood serum tubes as these contain fine powder and/or powder coated plastic beads. When the powder is sedimented in-lab, it can mask the cellular component of the sample. This is a particular problem with CSF samples due to their low cellularity. If you must use blood serum tubes, please wash them beforehand and ensure they are dry before use.

 

Sedimented smear of CSF submitted in a serum tube : note the granular material (powder from the tube) which is masking the presence of any cells.

 

 



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Ophthalmic histopathology submission form