Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fun-a-day 16: Bird blood

As I mentioned yesterday, I had zero training in veterinarian lab science in school.  Everything I learned, I learned on the job.  So it was a huge surprise to me to see my first bird blood sample.  All of the red blood cells in birds' circulation have nuclei in them (the black centers).  Apparently all animals except mammals,  have nucleated mature red blood cells.  People, dogs, cats, horses, and even llamas (yes we got those too) have no nucleus in the mature red blood cells after they leave the bone marrow.  We rarely got bird blood in the lab.   Birds don't live too long, in general, and I suspect there just isn't as much a vet can do for a sick bird, so it's not something we saw much at all in the lab.  All of our instruments were designed for humans, so animal blood was a bit of a challenge for us.  But each time we did get a bird sample, it was something of a "come see this!" sample.  We loved seeing new and different things in the lab, and this was no exception.

I didn't even try to "draw" any platelets or white cells, because I just don't remember them at all, but the red cells are pretty fun to look at all by themselves!

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