Granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (G-CSFs) and granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factors (GM-CSFs) are endogenous cytokines that regulate granulocyte colonies and play a major role in the stimulation of granulopoiesis (neutrophils, basophils and eosinophils) and in the regulation of microbicidal functions. There are numerous pathological conditions in which neutrophils are decreased, the most common being neutropenia associated with cancer chemotherapy, which increases the risk of serious microbial infections developing with the potential for high morbidity and mortality. New methods in molecular biology have led to the identification and cloning of CSF genes and biopharmaceutical production. Since then, CSFs have been widely used for the prevention and treatment of neutropenia associated with cancer chemotherapy, for mobilising haematopoietic cell precursors, and for other neutropenia-related pathologies. This review focuses on the use of CSFs within both human and veterinary medicine. Clinical applications, pharmacology, tolerability and the potential role of these factors in veterinary medicine are considered.