[en] Differences in the cytological interpretation of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) after cytospin preparation (CP) or manual smearing of pelleted cells preparation (MSP) were investigated in client-owned dogs and cats with inflammatory or infectious lower respiratory disease. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from healthy cats was also examined. With MSP, cell lysis was more frequently observed, and cellular distribution was more heterogeneous throughout the slide. When samples from healthy and diseased animals were considered together, a significantly greater percentage of neutrophils was seen on CP than on MSP slides (P<0.002). Cytospin preparations were considered of better quality in all individual comparisons. Cytospin preparation is advised in the evaluation of BALF with low total cell count. When only MSPs are evaluated, clinicians should be aware that differential neutrophil counts may underestimate the counts found on CP slides.