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Five cats were made anemic by one-time phlebotomy, and their reticulocyte responses were monitored daily for 20 days, using manual enumeration and a standardized feline reticulocyte protocol developed and validated in our laboratory. The reticulocyte responses of 38 clinically normal client-owned cats also were analyzed manually and cytometrically to determine clinical reference ranges.

Increases in the percentage of aggregate reticulocytes over the reference range were detected in 5 of 5 phlebotomized cats, using the cytometric protocol. Only 4 of the 5 cats had an increase by results of manual enumeration. Manual aggregate counts had considerable daily variation and often fluctuated in and out of reference range, whereas cytometric aggregate counts remained consistently increased for distinct periods. Increased numbers of aggregate cells could also be detected for longer periods when evaluated by flow cytometry.

Increased numbers of punctate reticulocytes were detected in 4 of 5 cats, using the cytometric protocol. None of the cats had increased numbers of punctate cells when evaluated by use of the manual technique.

Aggregate reticulocytes in the 38 clinically normal cats ranged from 0.1 to 0.5%, which corresponded to 8,487 to 42,120 cells/μl. Punctate reticulocytes ranged from 2 to 17%, which corresponded to 225,400 to 1,268,584 cells/μl.

Flow cytometry, using a standardized analysis protocol, was a more reliable and sensitive technique for detection and evaluation of feline reticulocytosis than was manual enumeration. The sensitivity of the flow cytometer to small amounts of intracellular nucleoprotein makes this assay especially valuable for detection of punctate reticulocytosis and low degrees of aggregate reticulocytosis in cats.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Bronchoalveolar lavage was performed through an endotracheal tube in 34 specific-pathogen-free cats to determine expected values for bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cytologic analysis, using this method of collection. Saline solution for lavage was instilled in 3 separate aliquots at a volume of 5 ml/kg of body weight each. Analysis of sequential aliquots was performed to investigate the differences in cell counts among the 3 fractions. The effect of combining aliquots, including or omitting the first fraction, was evaluated to determine whether all aliquots could be combined for analysis without substantially affecting results.

The total number of nucleated cells retrieved from each cat ranged from 0.9 to 31.1 × 106. Most of these cells were macrophages (78 ± 15%, mean ± sd) and eosinophils (16 ± 14%). The first aliquot had the greatest number of epithelial cells, and the lowest total nucleated cell count and relative and absolute eosinophil counts. Differences among aliquots also were identified for relative and absolute macrophage counts, relative and absolute neutrophil counts, and absolute lymphocyte count. Statistically significant differences were found for many of the cell counts when values from the combination of the second and third aliquots were compared with values from the combination of all 3 aliquots. Magnitude of the differences was small, and these differences were not believed to be of practical consequence.

Free access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research


To determine whether it was possible to retrieve organisms, by means of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), from cats inoculated with Toxoplasma gondii.


Experimental study.


27 cats. Sixteen of the 27 were experimentally infected with feline immunodeficiency virus.


All cats were inoculated with T gondii tachyzoites. Cats were grouped on the basis of feline immunodeficiency virus status and route (IV or intra-arterial) and number of tachyzoites administered. Bronchoalveolar lavage was performed by means of a standard technique. Lavage fluid was evaluated cytologically for tachyzoites.


Clinical signs of toxoplasmosis varied widely among individual cats, but were generally most pronounced in group-1 and -2 cats (n = 5 each) and less pronounced in group-3 (n = 5) cats. Group-4 and -5 cats (n = 6 each) did not have clinical signs of toxoplasmosis. In 14 of the 15 cats in groups 1, 2, and 3, tachyzoites were detected in BAL flu id collected 7 days after inoculation. Tachyzoites were detected 14 days after inoculation in the single cat without tachyzoites 7 days after inoculation. A necropsy was performed on 9 of these cats, and tachyzoites were identified histologically in 4 of the 9. Tachyzoites were not detected in BAL fluid collected 3 days (n = 6) or 7 days (n = 6) after inoculation from the 12 cats in groups 4 and 5. Tachyzoites were not identified histologically in any of these 12 cats.

Clinical Implications

BAL may be useful in the diagnosis of toxoplasmosis. Particularly in cats with signs of pulmonary involvement. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1997;210:648–650

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association