In-House Cytology

Home/Wellness Exams/In-House Cytology

[title size=”1″]In-House Cytology[/title]


Cytology is the examination and study of blood or tissue cells under a microscope. Cytology can be used to detect inflammation, infection, bacteria, fungi, parasites and cancer.

At Compassionate Care Animal Clinic in Boca Raton, our In-House Cytology involves an examination of the tissue. The sample cells from the tissue are collect on a slide and looked at under the microscope. In-House Cytology is used to identify lumps or mass notes on physical examination. Certain skin diseases or hair loss like mange mite infection can be diagnosed using cytology. Cytology is usually done when abnormal fluid is detected in a body cavity. Cytology may follow an abdominal ultrasound examination or surgical procedure that reveals abnormal organ tissue. Breeding females be can guided by Cytology of the vaginal fluid.

[title size=”2″]Advantages of Cytology[/title]

The advantages of cytology include: rapid results, inexpensive (compared to surgical biopsy), often provides a definitive diagnosis or can narrow the list of differentials, and causes minimal patient discomfort. Negative results can exclude the presence of certain diseases such as, skin tumors. Cytology can show the mass to be a fatty tumor, therefore it may be left alone and monitored for safety. Identification of a dangerous skin cancer, such as a mast cell tumor, would indicate the need for surgical removal of the mass. As with all tests, a cytologic examination is neither 100 percent sensitive nor specific.

[title size=”2″]What Can In-House Cytology Reveal for My Pet?[/title]

Our veterinary clinic in Boca Raton, can identify the presence of inflammation, infection, cancer, parasites, bacteria and fungi (molds and yeast). Following cytology, additional diagnostic tests, procedures, or medications may be recommended.

[title size=”2″]How Is Your In-House Cytology Done?[/title]

Our In-House Cytology testing involves obtaining a sample of cell tissue material. The material can be obtained by pressing a microscope slide against the tissue, by gently scraping the area with a scalpel blade, or by inserting a needle or sterile Q-tip into the tissue to obtain fluid or tissue.

The cell tissue is spread thinly over a microscope slide and allowed to dry. Fluid samples may be placed in a centrifuge first to concentrate the cells before they are transferred to the slide. The sample is then dyed with special biological stains to ease identification of the cells. The sample is once again allowed to dry. Once the dye has dried, the slide is ready for microscopic evaluation.

[title size=”2″]Is Cytology Painful for My Pets?[/title]

In obtaining a tissue sample with a needle, a small amount of pain may be involved for your pets.  As with humans, the pain perceived from a needle stick varies among individual pets, but it should not be any more painful than an injection or a blood sample.

[title size=”2″]Will My Pet Need a Sedation for Cytology?[/title]

Sedation is not typically needed for Cytology, but might be necessary depending on how the cytology sample is collected. Those samples obtained from skin scrapings or aspirations typically do not require sedation. A sample obtained during a surgical procedure will require anesthesia for the surgery.