Clinical Pathology Distance Education | Centre for Veterinary Education

Clinical Pathology Distance Education

Clinical Pathology

Make the most of in-house clinical pathology and achieve accurate, rapid diagnoses.

Do you want to maximise the benefits of your bench-top analyser and in-house pathology? Achieve rapid, cost-effective diagnoses with increased confidence? Ensure that your bench-top analyser is providing accurate information?

This course will expand and refine your diagnostic skills across a range of modalities including biochemistry, haematology, acid-base balance, endocrinology, blood smear evaluation and cytology. You will be guided through a range of practical techniques that will grow your confidence and ensure you are getting the best out of your in-house machines, as well as from external pathology services.

Hear what Sandra has to say about the course:

Learning Outcomes

The aim of this distance education program is to provide an overview of clinical pathology and assist you in developing and refining your approach to disease diagnosis, while extending the range of tests you can perform and interpret in-house.

On successful completion of this course you will be able to:

  • Develop and refine your interpretation of biochemical data, electrolyte abnormalities and acid-base parameters;
  • Refine your technique in making and evaluating blood smears;
  • Confidently interpret haematological data and identify and describe abnormalities in erythrocyte and leucocyte morphology;
  • Undertake appropriate quality assurance for your in-house laboratory;
  • Confidently undertake and interpret tests specific to haemostasis, lipids and proteins;
  • Refine your ability to assess and interpret data from tests specific to renal, hepatic and exocrine pancreatic function;
  • Develop and refine your skills in best-practice collection and handling of cytological samples and in the interpretation of aspirates;
  • Confidently interpret the results from endocrine testing;
  • Get the best results from external pathology services;


1. Introduction to Haematology and Disorders of Erythrocytes and Leukocytes

Wipe the dust from your microscope because in addition to interpreting the results produced by haematology analysers, this module works through the examination of blood smears and the identifying features of erythrocyte and leukocyte abnormalities. The information collected from smear examination helps determine the potential causes for anomalies in erythrocyte and leukocyte parameters.

2. Disorders of Haemostasis, Plasma Proteins and Lipids

Abnormalities in haemostasis may produce life threatening blood loss and rapid identification of the underlying cause is paramount in managing a critical patient. This module covers the testing modalities and causes for haemostatic defects so that these emergencies can be worked through effectively In contrast, anomalies in lipid and protein concentration are rarely life threatening and their interpretation can be more thoughtfully carried out.

3. Diagnostic Cytology

Examining patients’ lumps and bumps is a common part of a veterinary day and the ability to look at samples from masses in practice is very useful. Similarly, rapid evaluation of fluids is highly desirable when managing the patient with abdominal or thoracic fluid accumulation. In this module we will consider collection and handling of samples but primarily concentrate on cytological evaluation of aspirates from a number of different sites.

4. Practical use of In-clinic Analysers and Evaluation of Blood Glucose Abnormalities

When using analysers in practice we need to know that they are providing accurate results for interpretation. In this module we will look at quality assurance programs that are used for practice instruments including haematology analysers, biochemistry analysers, glucometers and refractometers. Interpretation of results is reliant not only on a knowledge of various disease processes but on how reference intervals are established, and the sensitivity, specificity and other statistical concepts for the tests that we are carrying. This is not a statistics course so the statistics is not onerous! Blood and serum glucose concentrations are readily affected by artefact and we will consider these as well as the diseases associated with abnormalities in glucose concentration.

5. Laboratory Evaluation of Hepatic and Exocrine Pancreatic Disease

The liver can be an enigma, with hepatic enzymes increasing in a number of non-hepatic conditions and then minimally rising in the face of significant hepatic disease. This module investigates the use of routine biochemistry parameters in investigating hepatic disease and which additional laboratory parameters are of help in working up the hepatic patient. Pancreatic disease can be associated with abnormalities in liver enzymes in addition to pancreatic enzyme alterations and we will consider these further in this module also.

6. Renal Disorders and Urinalysis

Kidney function is difficult to assess by routine methods until the patient is well on the way towards failure and, to complicate matters, various non-renal diseases can elevate the same parameters. As a consequence, urinalysis is a vital component when assessing the renal patient and examination of the urinary sediment is an integral part of urinalysis. In this module we will look at the integration of blood work and urinalysis, including sediment evaluation, as aids in assessing renal and urinary function.

7: Electrolyte Imbalances and Acid-Base Disorders

Electrolyte abnormalities may tune us into a specific disease such as hypoadrenocorticism, but more often they provide an indication of disease severity or direct a fluid therapy plan. Acid-base imbalances often accompany electrolyte disorders, although we are inclined to ignore this aspect of pathology because it is an unfamiliar area. In this module we will address these factors and bring a degree of comfort to analysing the data.

8: Laboratory Evaluation of Thyroid and Adrenal Disorders

Endocrine disorders are some of the more frequent conditions seen in practice, with feline hyperthyroidism so common that it would be expected on a daily basis. Other endocrinopathies are usually not seen as frequently and choosing the ‘best’ test for working up a suspicious case can leave us wondering, because there are no 100% sensitive and specific diagnostic tests in this arena.  This module will investigate endocrinopathies, their testing modalities and how best to go about monitoring the patient while on therapy for these diseases.

Course Delivery

This online course comes with :

  • Comprehensive notes; images and a copy of the BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Clinical Pathology

  • Self-assessed cases to test your knowledge and understanding

  • A discussion forum for conversation, debate and sharing cases with your peers and tutor

  • A monthly assignment based on case studies for each topic. Individual feedback and explanations will be provided by your tutor

  • A practical 2 day workshop, including microscopy sessions, to apply the knowledge you have gained 

  • Keeping DE notes in digital format saves almost 300 000 sheets of paper, 1 500 000L of water and 30 trees.

Pay as you learn

Choosing your DE course is a big commitment, so there’s no need to add further stress by paying your course up front. To pay as you learn, you will need a $1,000 deposit to secure your place, followed by 50% of the total course fee 10 days prior to course commencement date. We’ll arrange simple monthly direct debits from your credit card over 3 or 6 months.

Note: Payment Plan will incur an additional $250 administration fee, and Early Bird rates do not apply if you choose the payment plan option.

For the full terms and conditions please see our Terms.

Distance Education

Saturday 1 February - Wednesday 30 September 2020
2-Day Workshop: Sydney 28-29 SEP 2020
Delivered Online
Super Early Bird
30 June 2019
Early Bird
31 October 2019



Sandra Forsyth has had a mixed career having been in practice, undertaken a residency in anaesthesia and critical care, gained her boards in Anaesthesia and taught anaesthesia and critical care at Massey University for 12 years. Late nights, emergency call-outs and backache from moving sleeping horses, prompted a change in direction and as analysing blood results had been an inspiring part of both anaesthesia and critical care, Sandra’s new direction was determined when an opening arose in the clinical pathology department at the university. This was followed by a dual position in a diagnostic lab and teaching at the university, moving to full time diagnostic pathology in 2016. She loves her work, especially the interaction with veterinarians and working through the exciting and unusual cases that they provide. Sandra is a co-tutor with Trudi McAlees in the CVE DE course on Emergency Medicine as well as running her own DE course in Clinical Pathology.

Course Fees

Member TypeSuper early birdEarly birdFull rate
Non-member / eMember$5144$5384$5544
*Members include: Practice, Professional, Part-time, Recent Graduate, Academic and Student members

Loyalty DE Discount: Completed 2 or more Distance Education (DE) courses in the previous 5 years, you are eligible for a 10% discount on future DE courses. Discounts are not cumulative. For further information about discount options for multiple registrations at the one event, please read the full Terms & Conditions. To redeem your discount contact the CVE on +61 2 9351 7979 (Monday to Friday, AEST 9am to 5pm) or

Note: Enrol in a Distance Education course and pay in full before 31 October 2019 to save up to $250 and go in the draw to win a $1,000 CVE voucher. Winner announced 8 November 2019.