MSD Manual

Please confirm that you are a health care professional

honeypot link

Cerebrospinal Fluid Analysis


Thomas Schubert

, DVM, DACVIM, DABVP, Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida

Last full review/revision Jul 2013 | Content last modified Jun 2016

The analysis of CSF may further aid in determining the mechanism of a CNS disorder (especially inflammation). The technique of collection is simple and safe with practice. Analysis of CSF requires minimal special equipment. Cell counts and identification should be performed within 30 min after collection, because cells begin to degenerate after that time. Several techniques are available to concentrate or stabilize cells so that a differential cell count can be obtained at a later time.

CSF is collected from the cerebellomedullary cistern or the subarachnoid space in the lumbar region. An increase in protein is often associated with encephalitis, meningitis, neoplasia, or spinal cord compression. Cellular content increases most frequently with inflammation of the CNS. Neutrophils are indicative of bacterial infections, subarachnoid hemorrhage (RBCs are also present), brain abscess or a steroid-responsive suppurative meningoencephalitis, or in some cases, necrosis within a tumor. Increased numbers of lymphocytes, monocytes, and neutrophils are most common in steroid-responsive nonsuppurative meningoencephalitis, meningoencephalitis of unknown etiology (MUE) , fungal infections, toxoplasmosis, and neosporosis. Cultures of CSF may demonstrate the causative agent in bacterial and fungal infections. Paired serum and CSF immunoassays for canine distemper virus, cryptococcosis, toxoplasmosis, neosporosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, ehrlichiosis, and borreliosis can assist in diagnosis of these infections.

Others also read
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Test your knowledge
Neurologic conditions of horses
A horse is found stuck, lying down, with a halter on, in its stall with its feet up against a wall. The owner helps the horse to a standing position and then notices that the horse’s face is asymmetric. The lips and nostrils and eyelid on the same side are drooping. What is the most likely cause of this condition?
Become a Pro at using our website 

Also of Interest

Become a Pro at using our website