Better staining


Joining our Auckland and Christchurch laboratories, Gribbles Veterinary Palmerston North has recently added a new Siemens Hematek 3000 semi-automated staining machine to the laboratory’s diagnostic suite. This enables fast, consistent, high quality staining of up to 60 slides per hour, and stains both blood films and cytology preparations.

When an EDTA blood sample is submitted for a CBC, it is beneficial (and no extra charge) to send us a freshly made and air dried blood film from the same patient. This enables us to differentiate storage artefact from real changes (especially neutrophil band formation and toxic change), and allows accurate evaluation of cell morphology. This also applies to fluid cytology (e.g. joints and effusions).

Automated stainers do not stain the top 10mm of the glass slide (see Figure 2). A blood film or cytology smear extending to the top end of the slide would not be stained by this method. Shorter smears are therefore recommended.

Figure 1. Adrian Alpes, Haematology Scientist loving the new staining machine.

Figure 2. Right blood smear – too long and the top of the film has not been stained, missing the crucial monolayer for evaluation. Left blood smear – much shorter and fully stained.