Did You Know That Veterinary Hematology Involves Synergy Between Clinical Pathologists and Internists?

By John W. Harvey

Did you know that veterinary hematology involves synergy between clinical pathologists and internists?

The discipline of veterinary hematology was primarily begun by teachers of clinical pathology in veterinary colleges. The first textbook “Veterinary Hematology” by Oscar Schalm was published in 1961. Dr. Schalm was a veterinarian with a PhD in microbiology in the Department of Clinical Pathology, who was assigned to teach hematology in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. Veterinary hematology was generally taught by anatomic pathologists, as part of an introductory clinical pathology course, in other veterinary colleges. Veterinary clinical pathology developed as a specialty area over time, and board certification as a clinical pathologist (separate from board certification as an anatomic pathologist) was established by the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in 1973. The clinical pathology certifying examination includes four sections; hematology, clinical chemistry, general pathology, and exfoliative cytology/histopathology. Some veterinary clinical pathologists focus their teaching and/or research in the field of hematology, but a large portion of their clinic time generally involves examination of exfoliative cytology samples (as opposed to histopathology sections), in addition to oversight of the clinical laboratories. Diagnosis of hematologic disease is largely done by clinical pathologists, and treatment of hematologic disease is done by internal medicine clinicians (including practicing veterinarians) and clinical oncologists. Some veterinary internal medicine clinicians and oncologists focus their research on hematologic disease, but teaching and clinical activities are typically more varied. In summary, veterinary hematology involves synergy between clinical pathologists and internists.