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What is Bone Marrow Biopsy?

Bone marrow biopsy techniques are used to diagnose conditions affecting the bone marrow. These include anemia, myelofibrosis, and leukemia.

There are two main types of bone marrow biopsy: needle aspiration and core biopsy. Bone marrow needle aspiration will involve using a needle and syringe to collect cell samples from the bone marrow. Core biopsy is a surgical procedure that is more invasive than aspiration. Dogs undergoing bone marrow aspiration will need to be sedated; those undergoing core biopsy will need to be anesthetized.

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Bone Marrow Biopsy Procedure in Dogs

Bone Marrow Aspiration

  1. The veterinarian will first conduct a physical exam as well as diagnostic tests to evaluate the condition.
  2. A short-acting sedative will be administered alongside local anesthesia.
  3. A needle attached to an empty syringe is inserted into the bone marrow.
  4. The plunger of the syringe is pulled back. This process, known as aspiration, draws cells into the syringe.
  5. The cell sample is transferred to a slide, which the veterinarian will then examine under a microscope.

Bone Marrow Core Biopsy

  1. The dog’s blood is evaluated to ensure it is safe to administer general anesthesia.
  2. Anesthesia is administered intravenously. The operative area is shaved and cleaned before local anesthetic is administered.
  3. The veterinary surgeon will use a scalpel to incise the skin and subcutaneous tissues.
  4. A Jamshidi needle is used to retrieve a sample of bone marrow. The surgeon may aspirate the marrow in addition to obtaining a core sample.
  5. The sample is transferred to a microscope slide, which will be sent to a veterinary histopathologist for examination.
  6. The initial incision site is sutured.

Efficacy of Bone Marrow Biopsy in Dogs

Bone marrow biopsy is extremely effective in diagnosing bone marrow conditions. The method of analysis differs with each biopsy technique. Samples obtained via bone marrow aspiration are analyzed using cytology, while core biopsy samples are analyzed using histopathology. Cytology often provides an immediate diagnosis. However, cytology only evaluates cell structure and function. Histopathology evaluates the anatomy of both cells and tissues. Core biopsy may be recommended when cytologic evaluation fails to provide a definitive diagnosis. The results of core biopsy will take a little longer to come back, typically within two days.

Bone Marrow Biopsy Recovery in Dogs

You should monitor your dog for the first few hours after the procedure while the anesthesia and/or sedative wears off. If you notice any signs of allergic reaction, consult your veterinarian immediately. Analgesics may be prescribed to manage postprocedural pain. Dogs that received core biopsy may need to wear an Elizabethan cone until the sutures are removed. Follow-up appointments will be scheduled to discuss test results and treatment, remove sutures, and monitor healing.

Cost of Bone Marrow Biopsy in Dogs

The cost of bone marrow biopsy will vary based on the technique used, as well as standards of living and additional diagnostic costs. The average price of bone marrow biopsy – including the cost of anesthesia, pre-procedural lab testing, and sample analysis – ranges from $450 to $1,500. Aspiration biopsy typically costs less than core biopsy.

Dog Bone Marrow Biopsy Considerations

Bone marrow biopsy, particularly aspiration, is a safe procedure that presents few complications. However, complications of bone marrow biopsy may include:

  • Allergic reaction to sedative or anesthesia
  • Postprocedural pain
  • Fracture
  • Nerve damage (typically occurs with femoral bone marrow sampling)

Bone marrow biopsy may not be recommended for dogs that have conditions that cause severe bleeding or abnormal coagulation. The veterinarian or veterinary surgeon will discuss all possible complications with you prior to the procedure.

Bone Marrow Biopsy Prevention in Dogs

Because of the nature of bone marrow diseases, they are often difficult to prevent. Dogs diagnosed with conditions affecting the bone marrow should not be bred.

Bone Marrow Biopsy Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Elmo
Maltese x
7 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

Listless
Tired
Anemia
Starving
Pale Mucous Membranes
Lethargy

We rehomed Elmo a month back, he seemed alright the first 2 weeks since we adopted, slowly he stopped eating and had a day of diarrhea and vomitting, took him to vet and antibiotics+probiotics were prescribed, even after 10 days he would not eat, so a blood work was done indicating severe Anemia and he does look pale, super tired, no interest in food or anything, his RBC count = 1.17 x10^12/L, HCT = 8.1%, HGB = 2.7G/Dl. They did a blood smear test after and nothing unusual was detected. As a temporary treatment, we started B12 weekly shots, force feeding a recovery diet with multivitamin supplement and hoping to test him in a month to see if the values have changed, but the doctor does not believe this is going to help much as she says this is non-regenerative anemia and a blood transfusion will help till the actual problem is detected. She wants us to do the bone marrow biopsy to detect any malfunctioning of RBC production, any auto immune diseases or even cancer and may be put him on steroids if needed. We are first time owners and its only been a month since we brought him home and this is too much for us to take in. Also so far we've spent generously for all the basic tests, doctor visits and vitamins, now the cost of these advanced tests she suggests is going to cost way too much, and considering he is already weak, this may be too much to handle too as he is still healing emotionally from thoughts of his previous owners and the physical stress of injections, force feeding etc. He is not the same dog who was 2 weeks back, just sleeps all day and won't have the energy to even go drink water (its only 3 days we started the force feeding food n vitamins, now force feeding water too), I don't know how in just 2 weeks time he can suddenly become this anemic and I want to know if his condition is as serious as the doctor says or its just the right food n vitamins that may help him pick up? Please suggest.

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Bella
Maltese
4 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

She is slow make noises when sleep

My dog is sick and all test do not show anything the vet recommend Bone Marrow Biopsy but i can not afford it. Do you know any place help me with this?

Thanks
Laura Cardona
[email protected]

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3317 Recommendations
There are various organisations which may be able to assist with some or all of the cost of a procedure and ongoing veterinary care, depending on your country these organisations vary; I will place a few useful links for people living in the states below. I am not sure what is happening with Bella, but if blood test results are normal I wouldn’t be looking at a bone marrow biopsy unless there was an anomaly found elsewhere. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.avma.org/public/YourVet/Pages/Financial-assistance-for-veterinary-care-costs.aspx www.dogingtonpost.com/need-help-with-vet-bills-or-pet-food-there-are-resources-available/ https://iheartdogs.com/cant-pay-for-your-pets-needed-care-these-12-programs-can-help/

We rehomed Elmo a month back, he seemed alright the first 2 weeks since we adopted, slowly he stopped eating and had a day of diarrhea and vomitting, took him to vet and antibiotics+probiotics were prescribed, even after 10 days he would not eat, so a blood work was done indicating severe Anemia and he does look pale, super tired, no interest in food or anything, his RBC count = 1.17 x10^12/L, HCT = 8.1%, HGB = 2.7G/Dl. They did a blood smear test after and nothing unusual was detected. As a temporary treatment, we started B12 weekly shots, force feeding a recovery diet with multivitamin supplement and hoping to test him in a month to see if the values have changed, but the doctor does not believe this is going to help much as she says this is non-regenerative anemia and a blood transfusion will help till the actual problem is detected. She wants us to do the bone marrow biopsy to detect any malfunctioning of RBC production, any auto immune diseases or even cancer and may be put him on steroids if needed. We are first time owners and its only been a month since we brought him home and this is too much for us to take in. Also so far we've spent generously for all the basic tests, doctor visits and vitamins, now the cost of these advanced tests she suggests is going to cost way too much, and considering he is already weak, this may be too much to handle too as he is still healing emotionally from thoughts of his previous owners and the physical stress of injections, force feeding etc. He is not the same dog who was 2 weeks back, just sleeps all day and won't have the energy to even go drink water (its only 3 days we started the force feeding food n vitamins, now force feeding water too), I don't know how in just 2 weeks time he can suddenly become this anemic and I want to know if his condition is as serious as the doctor says or its just the right food n vitamins that may help him pick up? Please suggest.

Add a comment to Bella's experience

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