Clinical Technique: Amphibian Hematology: A Practitioner's Guide Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract: Amphibian hematology is challenging because of a combination of several factors including small patient size, few venipuncture sites, lack of normative data, and basic variability of the amphibian leukocyte and erythrocyte counts. This variability in amphibian red blood cell and white blood cell counts is based on a number of extrinsic (e.g., temperature, diet, season, light cycle) and intrinsic (e.g., species, gender, life style) factors. If possible, to best guide amphibian hematological interpretation, a conspecific, same gender animal can be sampled for comparison to dispel extrinsic and intrinsic variability. However, the collection of hematological measurements in the single amphibian patient can still provide useful clinical information to guide therapy of even the most diminutive amphibian patient. Therefore, the following brief guidelines are presented in an attempt to guide the clinical practitioner as to collection and interpretive techniques, which can easily be adapted to clinical practice for these fragile jewels of nature. Equipment necessary for venipuncture, venipuncture sites, a venipuncture technique, a technique for determination of an estimated white blood cell count and differential, and a guide for differentiation of leukocytes of the amphibian are given. This guide should by no means supplant a thorough review of the literature or consultation with a clinical pathologist, but will provide general rules of thumb for quick interpretation. Excellent reviews of sampling and complete blood count interpretation are listed in the references. 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Heatley, J. J., & Johnson, M.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Heatley, J Jill||Johnson, Mark

publication date

  • January 2009