Impact of preheparinization and sample volume on routine hematology findings in healthy cats. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVES: It can be challenging to collect sufficient blood from feline patients for both a biochemical profile and a complete blood count (CBC). The ability to generate accurate hematologic and biochemical data from a single, small (<2ml) sample could reduce patient stress and improve clinical efficiency. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of preheparinization and/or sample size on routine hematology findings in cats. METHODS: Blood was collected from 20 healthy cats; measured aliquots were placed directly into tubes containing either EDTA or lithium-heparin (Hep). Within 2 mins, specific volumes were removed from the Hep tubes and placed in additional EDTA tubes. Four distinct sample sizes/types were created from each cat: (1) 1.3ml EDTA (criterion standard); (2) 0.5ml EDTA; (3) 1.3ml Hep+EDTA; and (4) 0.5 ml Hep+EDTA. Three CBCs were performed on each sample using an automated bench-top hematology analyzer. Drops of blood were contemporaneously used to create three air-dried stained slides from each tube. Triplicate results were averaged for statistical analysis; results were compared across all sample types and against the criterion standard. Significance was set at P <0.05. RESULTS: Preheparinization did not significantly impact determinations of erythrocyte number, hematocrit, hemoglobin concentration, mean cell volume and neutrophil count. Platelet counts for the non-traditional samples correlated poorly with the criterion standard, although numbers could be effectively estimated using stained slides. Cell morphology was well preserved across all sample types. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: These results indicate that a 0.5ml preheparinized EDTA blood sample can generate clinically useful hematologic data (excluding platelet count) in cats, using a bench-top analyzer. Our findings support the collection of a single small (<2ml) sample that can be used for both biochemical and hematologic analyses. Further studies are needed to verify these findings using other hematology machines and in diseased cats.

published proceedings

  • J Feline Med Surg

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Norsworthy, G. D., Cook, A. K., & Lanier, C. J.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Norsworthy, Gary D||Cook, Audrey K||Lanier, Christopher J

publication date

  • February 2021