Sarah Schmidt, DVM, DACVP (Clinical Pathology),* Ashland, Massachusetts
A CBC is often completed as part of the minimum database. When the CBC is performed with an in-house hematology analyzer, a blood smear evaluation should be pursued as well to verify automated results, including confirmation of white blood cell (WBC) differential and evaluation for atypical cells, such as mast cells, blasts, and nucleated red blood cells.
Following confirmation of automated results, evaluation of the leukogram, which includes total WBC count, absolute values of individual leukocytes, and leukocyte morphology, should be performed to identify any pattern. When evaluating WBC differentials, absolute cell numbers (WBC count × leukocyte %) should be interpreted as opposed to leukocyte percentage only.