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Cytology in small mammals and exotic animals

Tvedten, Harold


Department of Clinical Sciences Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Uppsala Sweden


H W Tvedten

Abstract Cytologic diagnosis of samples from small mammals and exotic species is based on the same principles used for cytologic diagnosis of the common domestic species. The cytologist should use the same approach for samples from all species. Unusual species may have unique cell types which should be recognized. Most cytologic diagnoses are general such as septic exudate, granulomatous inflammation, fungal infection, reactive lymph node, carcinoma, etc. Diagnosis begins with correct identification and systematic description of pathologic changes in the sample. Many diagnoses are not more than a proper summary of cytologic changes as a morphologic diagnosis. Each species of small mammal has a short list of diseases which are expected and common in various situations. These diagnoses are recognized quickly. Unexpected or rare diagnoses usually require a search of references. Each species under certain conditions have infections unique for that, but then specific techniques such as PCR are usually required for diagnosis. Good references describing cytologic changes of most common diseases of an unusual species may be difficult to find. Pathology textbooks give gross and histologic diagnoses which may be sufficient to interpret cytologic changes. Using key words from your cytologic description plus the name of the species in an internet search engine such as Internet Explorer or Google Scholar is often successful in finding a useful reference. A PDF file of photographic illustrations presented in the lecture will be available from the author at

References 1. Al-Rukibat RK, Irizarry AR, Lacey JK, Kazacos KR, Storandt ST, DeNicola DB. (2001): Impression smear of liver tissue from a rabbit. Vet Clin Path 30:57-61. 2. Zimmerman KL, Moore DM, Smith SA. (2010): Hematology of the Guinea Pig. In Schalm's Veterinary Hematology 6th ed, Weiss and Wardrop eds. Wiley-Blackwell Ames Iowa: 893-898. 3. Percy DH, Barthold RW. (2007): Pathology of Laboratory Rodents and Rabbits, 3 ed. Blackwell Publishing Ames Iowa.

Corresponding Author Harold Tvedten DVM, PhD, DACVP, DECVCP Department of Clinical Sciences Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Box 7054 SE-750-07Uppsala Sweden Phone 46 18 671614 Fax 46 18 672883 E-Mail or



Published in

Title: Proceedings, November 6-9, 2013 15th Annual Congress of the European Society and College of Veterinary Clinical Pathology ESVCP/ECVCP
ISBN: 978-3-86345-179-0
Publisher: German Veterinary Medical Society