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Treatment Name: Diagnostic Tests: Biopsy

Treatment Type: Diagnostic Procedures

Rated for: Labrador Retriever

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Jennifer Peters DVM DABVP canine and feline

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Grass Valley, California, United States

Posted Jun. 20, 2018

Biopsy involves taking a section of tissue, or the entire organ/mass and having that tissue evaluated by a pathologist. Biopsy requires anesthesia (local or general depending on the size and location of the mass). Some people confuse biopsy with needle aspirate cytology (which involves taking a small sample of cells by needle and can be done without anesthesia in some cases). Cytology only gives a sample of cells. Biopsy gives the cells and the structure of the tissue. Often times biopsy is the only way to tell for certain that a tumor is malignant or not.
In the case of discrete organs like the spleen or uterus that the body can function without often times the entire organ is removed instead of just sampling a piece. The biopsy is then done from the organ to determine if spread of the cancer may have occurred.
It's important to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each diagnostic procedure with your veterinarian so that you can make the best decision for you and your dog.

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