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Red Blood Cells On Dog SkinUpdated 8 months ago

Red blood cells (RBC) are not normally seen under the microscope (1000x magnification) in a skin cytology of a healthy dog ear unless the swab sample collection technique was too forceful (thus getting some minor bleeding). 

Instead, and most commonly, larger quantities of red blood cells are seen if the skin is inflamed (red, sore, swollen) and/or if a microbe (bacteria, yeast) infection or skin mite infestation is underway. Red blood cells are also common when rubbing the skin swab against polyps, adenomas, or cancerous tumors (e.g., mast cell; melanoma) of the skin. Therefore, it’s important to interpret the RBC results along with the other cytology results for the same skin area. If the RBC counts are high (1+, 2+, 3+, 4+) in your dog’s skin swab samples, combined with high numbers of bacteria and/or yeast (or any skin mites), and/or with one or more clinical signs (e.g., scratching or chewing at the swabbed area), then a physical exam of your dog’s skin is needed by a veterinarian.

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