Biopsy

Quite often in medicine, a biopsy is required to help determine a diagnosis and/or help guide us in the most suitable treatments.  Simply put, a biopsy is a sample of a piece of tissue taken from the body for more precise examination.  The most commonly performed biopsy in veterinary medicine is likely for skin growths, however often biopsy samples are needed of organs such as the liver or small intestine.  Some ultrasound guided biopsies are more than suitable, but when this is not an option the least invasive method is laparoscopically.  Laparoscopic biopsies allow us to visualize the organ in question and collect samples through a very small incision, leading to a vast reduction in pain and much faster recovery. 

Potential Reasons to Biopsy Intestine:

 

  • Unexplained chronic diarrhea or vomiting

  • Unexplained protein loss/low protein on bloodwork

  • To help diagnose gastrointestinal disorders like Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  • To help diagnose certain types of cancer (eg: lymphoma)

Potential Reasons to Biopsy Liver:

 

  • Elevated liver values on bloodwork with no known cause

  • To confirm a diagnosis (eg: hepatic lipidosis/fatty liver, hepatitis)

  • To help diagnose possible liver shunt

  • To look for types of liver cancer

  • Any other abnormality found on x-ray or ultrasound

Normal Liver
Chirrotic Liver
Normal Liver (above);
 
Cirrhotic Liver (right) -- you can see the liver is smaller and much more pale in colour.