Red blood cell parasites

Red blood cell parasites

Species:          All species

Specimen:       Whole blood

Container:       EDTA (purple top)

Collection protocol:

Mix blood and anticoagulant gently and as soon as possible to prevent clotting. Make and air dry a blood smear as soon as possible to prevent artefactual changes occurring in the RBCs and WBCs. Do not refrigerate smears. Keep smears away from flies.

Special handling/shipping requirements:   Make a smear as soon as possible after collection of blood as some blood parasites/organisms may fall off the RBCs.

 General information about when this test is indicated:    When anaemia is detected or suspected.

Organisms present in New Zealand include:

  •  Cats: Mycoplasma haemofelis (formerly Haemobartonella felis), Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum, Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis
  •  Cattle: Theileria orientalis – Ikeda, Chitose, Buffeli, Mycoplasma wenyonii (formerly Eperythrozoan wenyonii), Candidatus Mycoplasma haemobos
  •  Sheep: Mycoplasma ovis (formerly Eperythrozoan ovis)
  • Alpacas – Candidatus Mycoplasma haemolamae
  • Dogs – Mycoplasma haemocanis has been reported but presence was not confirmed by PCR

Comparison with other related tests:  See PCR section for specific tests.  A PCR test is available for feline haemotropic mycoplasma confirmation if required. This requires a fresh EDTA blood sample or a sample that has not already been used for testing via an analyser, due to the very small chance that there may be transfer of organisms from a prior infected sample.