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What is Lung Biopsy?

A biopsy is a procedure carried out in order to obtain a sample of tissue from a diseased organ. By analyzing the sample in a laboratory, a vet will be able to diagnose the condition troubling the dog in much less time than by relying on other methods. Additionally, a biopsy provides a level of detail that is otherwise unobtainable and which can help inform proposed treatment plans. It should be kept in mind that the biopsy is not a treatment in and of itself, but is rather a way for the vet to determine the next step in the treatment process.

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Lung Biopsy Procedure in Dogs

The most common way in which vets will obtain a biopsy sample from the diseased lung is to use a specialized form of needle to cut a piece from the specified area of the organ. In order to do this, the vet will first place the dog under a general anesthetic before selecting and cleaning a spot on the relevant side of the animal where the needle will be inserted. The needle will then be guided to the biopsy site using an ultrasound scan or a camera mounted on the device itself, which will allow the vet to view the interior of the body in real-time. Once properly inserted into the target area, the vet can use the needle to shear off a small piece of tissue before retracting it from the body. In total, the procedure should not take more than half an hour to perform.

Efficacy of Lung Biopsy in Dogs

Biopsies are an extremely useful source of information about the health problem the dog is facing. The reliability of the method means that well-targeted treatment can be delivered very quickly in order to resolve conditions before they grow to become more serious. Some dog owners may have concerns about the invasiveness of the procedure, however, preferring to investigate alternative methods. Samples of saliva are often used for diagnosing infections, though if the problem is fungal then there is a chance that traces may not be picked up. in a similar vein, whilst imaging methods such as CT scans can roughly determine the material composition of a growth, they cannot provide many clues as to its nature (i.e. if it is dangerous or not).

Lung Biopsy Recovery in Dogs

After the biopsy is finished the dog will be able to go straight home, although they may experience some drowsiness and unsteadiness for several hours as a result of the anesthetic. The vet may advise letting the dog rest for a couple of days after the procedure in order to allow the lung to recover. Aside from some soreness around the entry point of the needle, the dog should not exhibit any other adverse symptoms. The vet will normally schedule a follow-up appointment within the next few days in order to discuss the results of the biopsy and begin the new course of treatment.

Cost of Lung Biopsy in Dogs

Biopsies enjoy a fairly consistent price thanks to the simplicity of performing the operation with a needle, though the diagnostic tests, anesthesia, and use of the ultrasound machine comprise a large part of the bill. Most customers can expect to pay between $400 and $700 for a lung biopsy, dependent mainly on their locale. By contrast, a CT scan of the lung would cost closer to $1,000 to perform, whilst analysis of microbes found in the dog's saliva would still cost several hundred.

Dog Lung Biopsy Considerations

Although the biopsy is an extremely expedient method for making a fast diagnosis, there are some worries regarding the process that are commonly expressed by owners. Firstly, some people may be understandably concerned that the insertion of the needle could prove damaging to the lung and impair the dog's ability to breathe. The reality is that a competent vet will be able to carefully guide the biopsy needle via ultrasound or camera without too much difficulty. In the event that the needle penetrates the lung however, the resultant hole would be so small that it would be almost negligible. The second point of concern is the risk posed by general anesthesia to older dogs. Although respiratory failure can occur, the risk level can only be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, so conferring with the vet beforehand can help assuage these fears.

Lung Biopsy Prevention in Dogs

The bulk of lung infections picked up by dogs are a direct result of the inhalation of foreign objects as the animal goes about its daily routine. In order to prevent this, owners should try to keep their property free of small objects that a dog may be tempted to chew on (in a similar manner to baby-proofing a house). Cancers, meanwhile, are typically congenital in nature, making them extremely hard to predict and screen for without prior knowledge of the animal's parentage and their medical history.