Veterinary Clinical Pathology Laboratory

Complete Blood Count

The Complete Blood Count (CBC) forms the foundation of diagnostic blood work by providing information regarding the numbers and morphology of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Elevated white blood cells (WBC) counts may support the presence of inflammation or infection. Changes in red blood cell counts and morphology may aid in the diagnosis of anemia. In total, these are sensitive markers of many diseases and syndromes.

In veterinary clinical pathology, complete blood counts present the challenges of species differences and low volume samples. Automated analyzers for veterinary use have been implemented and validated. One such analyzer is an important tool used in the laboratory of the Division of Comparative Pathology. Automation does not supplant the need for a personal review so every sample is also examined microscopically by a trained technician.

Analyses which are part of a complete blood count include:

  • White blood cell count
  • Red blood cell count
  • Hemoglobin
  • Hematocrit
  • Red blood cell indices (MCV, MCH, MCHC)
  • Platelet count
  • White blood cell morphology
  • Red blood cell morphology
  • Platelet morphology