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TECH124-0907: Basic Hematology - the bloody truth about cats and dogs

Cheryl Stockman, MT (ASCP)

September 13-October 19, 2007
Real Time Sessions: Wednesday evenings; September 19 and 26 and October 3 and 10; 8:30pm-10:00pm ET (USA)


Participants will explore basic hematology concepts applicable to small animal practice with feline and canine patients. The course will include an overview of proper sample handling and processing, in house hematology instrument theory and manual methods involved in a complete blood count. Of course, no hematology course would be complete without a little lab math, so that will also be covered.

The course will have message boards to further discuss the course materials, weekly homework/quiz assignments, reading materials/handouts for reference to correspond with information during the real time sessions and/or in the library materials.

NOTE: This course will not specifically cover individual, in-house instrumentation. Abnormal blood cells and blood parasites will not be thoroughly covered. Phlebotomy and particular venipuncture methods will not be discussed.

Computer aided hematology reading is a nice advance in technology, however, a good clinical pathologist will always make slides for immediate inspection as well as review to aid in a clinical diagnosis. Veterinary support staff should have the ability to assist the veterinarian in this area of diagnostic set up. Veterinary technicians must have these skills as part of their essential skills. Ms. Stockman has been a supervising medical technologist at Tufts University for over 10 years and works closely with Dr. Joyce Knoll in teaching veterinary students. She also has continued practical experience as an assistant in a veterinary hospital giving her the ability to understand and teach in both the academic and general practice fields.

All members of the veterinary support staff are encouraged to join; however, the course is focused towards technicians and experienced assistants. This course is designed for these staff members to have a better understanding of the basics of crossmatching, blood typing, collection and storage of blood, component therapy, transfusion reactions and emergencies. This course has been submitted for RACE approval for veterinarians and veterinary technicians.

Upon completion of this course, participants should be able to:

TEXTBOOK: There is no required text for this course; however the instructor has provided a list of recommended texts, particularly if the student will be performing testing in their own practice.



Week 1: Terminology and Concepts
Content: This week we will discuss terminology used in basic hematology. The concept of CBC will be discussed including the proper collection, handling and storage of the blood specimen. The difference between manual and automated cell counts will be discussed and the process of performing a packed cell volume will be explored. The steps involved in making an adequate blood smear will be illustrated and the need for a good smear will be part of the conversation.

Week 2: Instrumentation, Equipment, and Controls
Content: The discussion this week will be packed with basic hematology instrument theory so that an operator will have some understanding of general measuring principles. This discussion will also include the definition of parameters obtained on an automated analyzer (such as MCH, MCHC, and MCV). There will be basic math presented in the lesson this week. Quality control theory, such as Levy Jennings charting of quality control values will be introduced. Packing time procedure will be incorporated in the discussion as an in-house method of maintaining quality control of the lab centrifuge. The use of a hemocytometer for manual erythrocyte and platelet counts will be examined. This will be a fast-paced week with relevant, but often, overlooked information.

Week 3: Function and Morphology or Erythrocytes
Content: Week 3 will be dedicated to the red blood cell. The function and morphology of erythrocytes will dominate the week's discussion. The concepts of rouleaux and agglutination will be defined and the reticulocyte count and its mathematical correction will be contained in the topical material.

Week 4: Leukocyte Morphology
Content: During this last session, white blood cells will be the main focus. Normal leukocyte morphology will be discussed and abnormal white blood cells will be introduced. It will also be a week to tie up loose ends and get the last minute questions answered on the message board.

Library materials will be made available prior to the topic week so participants will have plenty of time to prepare for the real time sessions and discussion.

Message board discussions regarding the topic presented will begin on the day the course opens and continue for one week following the last real time session. These discussions will be held in the VSPN CE course area.

CE HOURS: 6 (RACE applied for)

$111 ($100.00 early bird special if registered before August 30, 2007).
Students currently enrolled in and taking at least 2 classes or 5 units at an AVMA accredited or CAAHT approved Veterinary Technician Program may be eligible to receive a 50% discount off the regular rate for this course (upon verification of student status)
*VT students: You must include the following information in the comments section of the CE enrollment form in order to be eligible for this discount: your program directors name and contact information (email/phone) and school name.

** NOTE: Enrollment will be closed when the maximum number of participants is reached or at 5pm ET the day of the first real time session

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  1. Each enrollee must individually be a registered member of VSPN or VIN ( Membership in VSPN is free; VIN membership includes VSPN membership.
  2. To enroll in any VSPN CE course click on the ENROLL NOW link below the course title on the right side of the page at
  3. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from and addresses. This is our major form of communication with participants. It is highly recommended that course participants use their own, personal emails rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  4. VIN Member veterinarians SHOULD NOT register for their staff. Please have the staff member register through VSPN. Please email if you have questions.

Note: "This course has been submitted (but not yet approved) for 6 hours of continuing education credit in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB RACE approval; however participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education. Call VSPN CE at 1-800-700-4636 for further information." (Attendees are encouraged to check with their licensing jurisdiction(s) for information regarding recognition by their board).

COURSE WITHDRAWAL AND REFUND POLICY: Withdrawal prior to the listed start date of a course entitles the registrant to a complete refund or a credit toward a future VIN CE course, whichever is preferred. Withdrawal within 1 week after the listed start date (i.e. including no more than one real-time session) entitles the registrant to a credit toward any future VIN CE course. (Does not apply to courses with only one real-time session.) After the first real-time session, a registrant may withdraw due to special circumstances and receive prorated credit towards a future VIN course. These requests will be handled on an individual basis. The amount of the prorated credit will be determined based on 65% of the time remaining in the course at the time of withdrawal. It is not possible to withdraw retroactively.
Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN office at 1-800-700-INFO (4636).
Nanette R. Walker Smith, M.Ed., RVT, CVT, LVT
VSPN Content Director & CE Coordinator
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-297-4950, ext 187

Ginger Sanders (, ext 183
Charlotte Waack (, ext 193
VSPN CE Services
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881

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