The Age Old Question: Reactive or Lymphoma?

How many times have you found yourself looking at a lymph node aspirate and wondering “is this reactive or lymphoma”?

Do you know how to tell the difference?

Let’s take a look at this case and go through some important points when making this decision.

This is a lymph node aspirate from a cat with lymphadenomegaly. First, take a look at the photo and decide whether you think it’s reactive or lymphoma.

This is a reactive lymph node! The way we can tell that is that the majority of the lymphs are small (smaller than a neut), and there are increased numbers of plasma cells too which we often see in reactive lymph nodes.

There are only low numbers of large lymphs present, which is expected in a reactive node. With large cell lymphoma, you’d expect the majority of the lymphocytes to be large, which isn’t the case here. Good news for kitty!