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Newsletter 09/2017
We are pleased to welcome you to the monthly BattLab newsletter. This newsletter will bring you the latest news and information about our laboratory and all tests that we can offer to all our clients.
After the success of our previous seminars, we are pleased to announce the fourth and last seminar for 2017. This time the talk will be focused on haematology and more specifically on the diagnostic approach to anaemia in cats.

Title: This cat is anaemic, what now? Diagnostic approach to anaemia in the cat.
Date: Tuesday 3rd October 2017
Speaker: Francesco Cian (DVM DipECVCP FRCPath MRCVS) 
19:30-20:00 - Light refreshment 
20:00-21:30 – Seminar
To book your space send us an email to
These seminars can be used as annual CPD hours.
More seminars will follow in 2018. Stay tuned.
Batt Laboratories will be one of the main sponsors of the upcoming annual internation congress of the European Society of Veterinary Clinical Pathology (ESVCP) which this year will take place in London from the 6th to thr 9th of September. The ESVCP is a European scientific organization dedicated to the promotion of scientific advancement, education, and standards in veterinary laboratory medicine and is considered the excellence in veterinary clinical pathology.

Our veterinary clinical pathologist, Francesco Cian, will also give a lecture on the Saturday about cytology of the lower respiratory tract in horses.
This month FAQ section is dedicated to Tickborne Diseases in dogs
Which are the most common infectious diseases that can be transmitted from ticks to dogs?
Anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis and borreliosis (Lyme disease) are four of the most common tick-borne diseases commonly diagnosed in dogs and often cause of important clinical signs.

With any of these diseases, co-infections with more than one type of tick-borne organism is possible, potentially altering the signs of illness in the affected patient.
Which clinical signs and haematologic changes these diseases can cause in dogs?
Clinical signs differ according to the infectious agents.

In case of infection by Anaplasma spp. or Ehrlichia spp. affected animals usually develop fever, lethargy, myalgia and in most severe cases bleeding disorders. The last are secondary to a severe thrombocytopenia that often accompany these infections, especially the ones from Ehrlichia canis.

Babesia spp. is often cause of fever, jaundice and anaemia that, if severe and left untreated, can also lead to death. Anaemia is often regenerative and is due to a combination of mechanic rupture of red blood cells (haemolysis) and immune mediated response with production of autoantibodies (IMHA). Thrombocytopenia is also frequently encountered and may be immune mediated.

There are no real characteristic haematology or serum biochemistry changes in Borrelia burgdorferi infection but a mild thrombocytopenia may be present.
Which tests can be useful to diagnose these conditions?
Sometimes, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and Babesia can be identified on blood smear examination but they are often hard to spot. Babesia appear as pear shaped structures within the red blood cells (see picture below). Ehrlichia canis and Anaplasma phagocytophilum tends to arrange in structures called morulae that can be observed within circulating monocytes and neutrophils respectively.
There are other tests that offer higher sensitivity and these include serology (IFA, ELISA) and PCR.

Serology is a good way to confirm/rule out a tick-borne infection. However, both false negative and false positive results may occur and therefore correlation with the clinical signs is always important. False negative results may be observed in the first days/weeks after the infection before seroconversion, whereas a single positive titre may indicate previous exposure and not necessarily active infection. In those cases, as a general rule, a 4 fold increase of the antibody titers within 4 weeks is considered evidence for an active infection.

PCR testing is another possible consideration. False positive results are only rarely encountered and are usually considered indicative of an active infection. On the other hand, a negative result only indicates the pathogen is not present in the analysed sample and does not rule out the possibility the pathogen is present elsewhere in the body. For these reasons, submitting the correct sample for PCR is crucial. Testing can be performed on the peripheral blood of the dog that possibly got infected and/or on the ticks that may be found on the body of the animal.
Which are the dogs at risk of a tickborne disease infection? 
Any outdoor dog leaving in the UK is potentially at risk of these disease since in the last few years there have been reports of tick-borne disease in dogs with no history of travel outside the country, in particular a few dogs from Essex infected by Babesia Canis and a dog from London infected by Ehrlichia canis (Phipps LP et al, Vet Rec, 2016; Wilson HE, JSAP, 2013). A special attention should be given to all dogs with history of travelling outside UK, including Europe, Asia and America, since the prevalence of these diseases is much higher in those areas. Acaricide treatment is recommended as the current best practice guidance to prevent transmission of these diseases.
Our laboratory offers a comprehensive service of serology and PCR testing for tick borne diseases in all domestic species, including tailored tickborne disease panels. For more information visit our website or contact us by phone or email.
From the last cytology corner of Veterinary Times by Francesco Cian.
The picture below is from an aspirate from a mass on a digit in a 12-year-old Yorkshire terrier (Wright-Giemsa, 50×). What is your diagnosis?
The aspirate is highly cellular, with adequate preservation. On a clear background, with frequent red blood cells, there is a main population of discrete, round cells. These have moderate amounts of deeply blue cytoplasm, with defined borders, often showing a clear perinuclear halo, which represents the Golgi area of the cell (black arrow). Nuclei are round, paracentral to eccentric, with granular chromatin, and poorly visible nucleoli. Anisocytosis (variation of cell size) and anisokaryosis (variation of nuclear size) are mild to moderate. There are also a few binucleate (red arrow) and trinucleate cells, together with rare atypical mitotic figures (not seen in this picture). Rare blood-derived neutrophils are also noted.
Plasma cell tumour
The submitted aspirate harvested a population of discrete cells and is compatible with a round cell tumour. The cytological features observed (deeply blue cytoplasm, clear perinuclear halo and eccentric nucleus) are distinctive of a plasma cell tumour and make differentiation from other round cell tumours relatively easy. When this is not possible, histology and immunohistochemistry by using antibodies against MUM1, CD79a, and CD21 may help to confirm a plasma cell origin. Plasma cell tumours are relatively common cutaneous neoplasms, affecting mainly old dogs and are rare in cats. There is a breed predisposition for terrier breeds, cocker spaniels and standard poodles. Most commonly affected areas include pinnae, digits, oral cavity and rectum. Despite the nuclear pleomorphism that is often observed on cytology and histology (for example, anisocytosis, anisokaryosis, binucleation and multinucleation, and mitotic figures), plasma  cell tumours tend to behave in a benign fashion and are usually cured by complete excision, however, a few will recur. Metastasis are rare. Plasma cell tumours may also occur in other sites. When they originate in the bone marrow they are referred as multiple myeloma; this can be associated with monoclonal gammopathy and hypercalcaemia. Primary extramedullary plasma cell tumours have also been reported in the oral cavity (gingiva), gastrointestinal tract and spleen.
60 seconds with …. SELDA CURTSEIT, Clinical Pathologist at BattLab
Selda is the new addition to the BattLab family. She qualified from the University of Bucharest with a DVM in 2007. She spent the next few years working in small animal practice. In 2009, she started a PhD at the University of Bucharest, focused on canine cutaneous mast cell tumours. She moved to the UK in 2016 and worked for a year in a small animal practice in Norfolk.
How long have you been there?
I have worked in Battlab for about a month.
Why do you do what you do?
It all began with my love for the animals. Some time after graduating I realised that I loved doing pathology ‘’stuff’’ so I decided to focus on that. A ‘’gut feeling’’ that started an incredible journey. I love how vast the field of pathology is and I love how a pathologist is required to have knowledge of virtually every disease process in order to make a diagnosis. That means that I constantly have to learn new things! Pretty cool, huh?
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I like travelling, meeting with friends and watching movies (in fact, I am quite a movie buff!). Since I moved to the UK a little over a year now, I tried to visit a new place in the country every chance I got. I loved Peak and Lake Districts and I plan to visit the North of the UK as soon as possible.
Yours sincerely,
The BattLab team
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