A bone marrow aspirate or biopsy is a procedure where either a small amount of the bone marrow only is obtained (aspirate) or the bone marrow plus a small sample of bone is obtained (biopsy). Patients are anesthetized for this procedure for their comfort. Once anesthetized, a small area of fur is clipped (usually over the right shoulder or hip) and skin aseptically prepared. A bone marrow biopsy needle is then inserted through a small incision in the skin, and inserted through the bone and into the marrow. A sample of the marrow is then aspirated into a syringe, and/or small piece bone biopsied. One or two sutures may be placed in the skin after the aspirate or biopsy. Samples are submitted to a veterinary pathologist for analysis. Diseases such as cancer, autoimmune disorders and infections are evaluated for.
Left and Right: The bone marrow procedure
Reasons your pet may benefit from a bone marrow aspirate or biopsy include unexplained anemia, low white blood cell or platelet counts, or abnormal appearing cells circulating in the blood and detected during a complete blood count.
The bone marrow needle