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Newsletter 05/2018
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 the first two seminars, BattLab is happy to announce the third free evening seminar, this time focused on the diagnostic approach to cavitary effusions in dogs and cats. We are looking forward to seeing you on the 19th of June. Seats are limited therefore if you want to join, please send an email asap to with your name and practice.
This seminar counts towards CPDs requirements. 
What are platelets and how they look on blood smear examination?
Platelets are small round-to-oval anucleated cell fragments 25-50% of the size of an erythrocyte. When they appear the same size as an erythrocyte or larger in diameter, they are called macrothrombocytes or macroplatelets. While occasional macroplatelets can be present in normal dogs and cats, increased numbers in a thrombocytopenic animal suggest that enhanced thrombocytopoiesis is present. 
Figure 1. Platelets from a blood smear of a healthy dog. Wright Giemsa, 40x
What is thrombocytopenia?
Platelet numbers are interpreted with respect to the reference interval for that species. A decrease in platelet numbers (below the lower reference limit) is called thrombocytopenia, whereas an increase in platelet numbers (above the upper reference limit) is called thrombocytosis.  Thrombocytopenia is clinically more important than thrombocytosis because it may be associated with haemorrhagic disorders.
What is inherited macrothrombocytopenia?
Inherited thrombocytopenia is a condition observed in selected canine breeds, caused by a genetic mutation which affects early platelet formation. This can result in an increased percentage of macroplatelets and thrombocytopenia.
Which canine breeds can be affected by this condition?
This condition has been described initially in Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS), and later also in Norfolk and Cairn Terriers. Other breeds (e.g. Labrador Retrievers, Poodle, Chihuahua, Shih Tzu, Maltese Terrier, Jack Russell Terriers) can also been affected. An inherited macrothrombocytopenia with abnormally shaped platelets has recently been described in Akitas.  According to the literature, in CKCS and Norfolk Terriers, automated platelet counts range from as low as 30 to 150,000/µL and 19 to 110,000/µL.
Is this condition considered clinically relevant?
Unlike other dogs with platelet counts of 30,000/μL or lower, CKCSs with the mutation do not have signs of spontaneous mucocutaneous haemorrhage because their overall platelet function is normal. Platelet function is believed to depend more on total platelet mass (number × volume) than platelet number alone. The affected dogs may mistakenly be considered to have an underlying disease that results in thrombocytopenia, such as immune-mediated thrombocytopenia, tick-borne infection, or a bone marrow disorder. Persistent thrombocytopenia, with the presence of macroplatelets in a susceptible breed should rise the suspicion of inherited macrothrombocytopenia.
When can inherited thrombocytopenia be suspected?
This condition can be suspected when thrombocytopenia is present in a dog of one of the breeds listed above. These animals generally do not have clinical signs attributable to haemorrhage, and macroplatelets are often observed on blood smear examination.
How can a diagnosis of inherited thrombocytopenia be confirmed?
Diagnosis of inherited macrothrombocytopenia is obtained by a specific genetic test, which detects a β-1 tubulin mutation (megakaryocytic-specific protein). Affected dogs appear to be homozygous for the genetic defect, with heterozygotes having normal platelet counts. This is only one of a very long list of genetic tests that BattLab can offer you in collaboration with LABOKLIN. Sample requirement is 1ml of EDTA blood. For more information, including costs, do not hesitate to contact us.
CCD (cross-reactive carbohydrate determinant) is a phenomenon that has been known in human  medicine for decades and has also been recently demonstrated in veterinary medicine. According to the most recent literature, it has been estimated that up to 1/3 of clinically diagnosed allergic dogs show CHO (charbohydrate) specific IgE. As clinician you probably have record of some allergy test results that were positive for nearly all seasonal allergens. 
But, what are these CHO specific IgE?
During evolution, the plant and insect venoms enzymatic system responsible for attaching sugars to proteins underwent a genetic modification, resulting in the production of distinct glycosylation enzymes. These result in glycosylation of plant proteins containing specific CHO chains. When in contact with the animal immune system, these plant CHO structures may elicit a Type-I reaction, resulting in the production of specific immunoglobulin (IgE), which can interfere with the traditional allergy testing. In particular, this process may cause false positive reactions to all seasonal allergens.
To avoid this, a specific blocking agent, carrying the CHO structures has been developed. BattLab includes this preliminary test to all the allergy panels that are run. The introduction of this new CHO system solves the “multi-positive” plant results problem. Therefore, specific IgE measurements become thus highly reliable. Perennial allergens are not affected by this phenomenon.
For more information about allergy testing do not hesitate to contact us
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Yours sincerely,
The BattLab team
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