Cytology or cytopathology offers a relatively non-invasive method of diagnosing tumors and inflammatory conditions.

  • Aspirates of tumors
  • Body cavity fluid analysis
  • Joint fluid

Bone biopsy roll preps in conjunction with biopsy can be used to diagnose bone tumors, or bone marrow diseases. 

Preparing Specimens:

Aspirates/ Smears

  • Please (if possible) use glass slides with frosted ends so that information can be written on the slide. Even if you do not have frosted slides, use a permanent marker to identify the slides with owner and/or pet name as well as location (especially if more than one location is aspirated).
  • Slides from aspirates or smears should be submitted in plastic slide holders (which we will provide) to prevent breakage during transit.
  • If cytology preparations are submitted in the same package as formalin fixed tissue, please double bag the samples to prevent staining artifact on the slides.


  • Fluids should be sent in lavender/purple top tube (EDTA) and red top tube (no anticoagulant). They should be secured during shipping with packing (bubble wrap or paper towels) to prevent breakage. In very hot weather, a cold pack will prevent deterioration of the cells.
  • Please label tubes with owner/patient as well a source.
  • If possible, direct smears should be prepared from the fluid before shipping.


  • Cytology submissions can be shipped in your own packaging. It is not necessary to use the FedEx Clinical Pak. The billable stamp that we provide you for free shipping can be used on any box. Your FedEx driver can provide you with additional shipping materials if you need them.


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