Investigation of the Use of Bovine Albumin for Hematologic Stabilization in Pancake Tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri) Blood Smears
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2007
Debbie A. Myers1, DVM; Mark A. Mitchell2, DVM, MS, PhD; Gregory Fleming3, DVM, DACZM; Joerg Mayer4, DMV, MS; Brad Locke5, DVM, DACZM
1Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; 2Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, USA; 3Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; 4Department of Clinical Services, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA, USA; 5Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta, GA, USA


Bovine albumin is used in hematology for cell stabilization to protect against hemolysis, especially in samples with low protein counts.1-3 Chelonian blood cells are fragile due to their lower total plasma protein concentration, and once exposed to anticoagulant, cells can be disrupted due to their low oncotic pressure. The use of bovine albumin as a cell stabilizer increases the likelihood of the red and white blood cells maintaining normal morphology.1,3 In this study, blood was collected and blood films prepared from fifty pancake tortoises (Malacochersus tornieri). Two blood smears were created from each sample collected. One smear was prepared from a blood sample containing one drop of 22% bovine albumin per five drops of blood and one from a blood sample containing no additive. The slides were examined at 400x and 1000x and evaluated for numbers of intact versus disrupted blood cells. Disrupted cells were classified as those cells which were smudged, lysed, disrupted or had any other technique artifacts. Results indicated a significant increase (p<0.05) in intact cells (white and red) at both 400x and 1000x with the use of bovine albumin versus the blood films containing no additive. In conclusion, the bovine albumin minimized the cellular disruption for white and red blood cells that occurs during normal blood film preparation, therefore, increasing the accuracy of white and red cell counts and the differential cell count.

Literature Cited

1.  Densmore, C.M. 1981. Eliminating disintegrated cells on hematologic smears. Lab. Med. 12:640–641.

2.  Harr, K.E., R.E. Raskin, and D.J. Heard. 2005. Temporal effects of commonly used anticoagulants on hematologic and biochemical variables in blood samples from macaws and Burmese pythons. Vet. Clin. Path. 34:383–388.

3.  Wilkinson, K., J. Fikes, and S. Wojcik. 2001. Improved mouse blood smears using the Diff Spin Slide Spinner. Vet. Clin. Path. 30:197–200.


Speaker Information
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Debbie A. Myers, DVM
Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL, USA

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