Heck Yeah Cytology!

A fine assortment of interesting, perplexing, and down right awesome things from the world of veterinary hematology and cytology...

Bone marrow aspirate from a 11 year-old, female-spayed, Dachshund.  The patient was evaluated by her primary care veterinarian for chronically repeating nose bleeds.  On bloodwork the patient was found to have a total protein of 11.8 g/dL (normal < 7.6 g/dL!).  Only so many diseases cause such a marked increase in protein, so to they marrow they went…


Almost 50% of the cells in the bone marrow were these plasma cells (red arrow).  Recall plasma cells are the lymphocyte variant that produce antibodies.  And they have a GORGEOUS blue hued cytoplasm with a pearled center (the golgi zone).  Often plasma cells will stick together - the thought is that all the antibody they are producing and have on their membranes sort of act like Velcro :-P  50% is WAY too many - <2% of your marrow cells should be plasma cells.


Diagnosis:  Plasma cell myeloma!  Which is almost synonymous with multiple myeloma.  To diagnosis multiple myeloma your patient must have 2 of the 4:  increase bone marrow plasma cells, monoclonal blood gammopathy, osteolytic lesions in bone, or antibody fragments in urine (the Bence-Jones proteins!)  This poor dog also had the osteolytic lesions and monoclonal gammopathy.  Prognosis is relatively good for a canine cancer, with a median survival of 1 year post-diagnosis.

  • 5 August 2013
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