Total nucleated cell and leukocyte differential counts in canine pleural and peritoneal fluid and equine synovial fluid samples: comparison of automated and manual methods

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Rapid and precise measurement of total and differential nucleated cell counts is a crucial diagnostic component of cavitary and synovial fluid analyses.


The objectives of this study included (1) evaluation of reliability and precision of canine and equine fluid total nucleated cell count (TNCC) determined by the benchtop Abaxis VetScan HM5, in comparison with the automated reference instruments ADVIA 120 and the scil Vet abc, respectively, and (2) comparison of automated with manual canine differential nucleated cell counts.


The TNCC and differential counts in canine pleural and peritoneal, and equine synovial fluids were determined on the Abaxis VetScan HM5 and compared with the ADVIA 120 and Vet abc analyzer, respectively. Statistical analyses included correlation, least squares fit linear regression, Passing–Bablok regression, and Bland–Altman difference plots. In addition, precision of the total cell count generated by the VetScan HM5 was determined.


Agreement was excellent without significant constant or proportional bias for canine cavitary fluid TNCC. Automated and manual differential counts had R2 < .5 for individual cell types (least squares fit linear regression). Equine synovial fluid TNCC agreed but with some bias due to the VetScan HM5 overestimating TNCC compared to the Vet abc. Intra-assay precision of the VetScan HM5 in 3 fluid samples was 2–31%.


The Abaxis VetScan HM5 provided rapid, reliable TNCC for canine and equine fluid samples. The differential nucleated cell count should be verified microscopically as counts from the VetScan HM5 and also from the ADVIA 120 were often incorrect in canine fluid samples.

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