Article 

Avian Hematology and Biochemistry Panels

Although hematology and biochemistry are an important part of the clinical picture in the avian patient, this bloodwork remains just ‘part of the picture’. All too often, when a clinician is unfamiliar with a species, the reaction is often to rely on laboratory results to hang a diagnosis upon. Although we have all been guilty of this, such an approach is inappropriate. For each sick bird, the following diagnostic tools should be applied: complete history, visual examination of the bird and its environment, physical examination, clinical pathology sample collection (blood, feces, swabs, aspirates, etc.), and radiography.

White blood cells are similar to mammalian lines, except that mammalian neutrophils are replaced with heterophils and mammalian platelets are replaced with thromobocytes. There are significant variations in normal differentials among avian species, in particular the total white cell count and…

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Blood Collection in Chelonians

The left or right jugular vein is the vessel of choice in most chelonians less than 4 kg body weight. The risk of lymph dilution is low with this site. The phlebotomist holds the head and extends the head and neck, while an assistant supports the turtle’s body and holds off the jugular vein at the base of the neck. (With a small chelonian, it may easier to…

Article 

Blood Collection in Lizards

With even the most scrupulous sanitation, lizards frequently sit in or walk through their own droppings. To minimize the risk of needle site contamination with bacteria or uric acid, aseptically prepare the venipuncture site with an antiseptic like alcohol.

Article 

Blood Collection in Snakes

Cardiocentesis is used in snakes of all sizes, although the patient should ideally be greater than 200 grams. Lymph contamination is also less likely with cardiocentesis when compared to caudal tail venipuncture. Based on a study in ball pythons…

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Laboratory Assessment of the Bleeding Exotic Animal Patient

Hemorrhage in the critical patient can occur from a number of reasons. Before a blood sample is collected, carefully weigh the risk to the exotic animal patient against the clinical value of the test results. What will you do with this information? How will it affect your clinical plan? EDTA is the most commonly used anticoagulant in small mammals; lithium heparin is commonly used in birds and reptiles. Whenever possible, make a blood film immediately after venipuncture using fresh blood free of anticoagulant. Most adult small mammal hematocrits range from…