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Journal of Veterinary Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 217314, 4 pages
Research Article

Sternal Aspiration of Bone Marrow in Dogs: A Practical Approach for Canine Leishmaniasis Diagnosis and Monitoring

1Department of Veterinary Clinical Science, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, 80137 Naples, Italy
2Unit of Vector-Borne Diseases & International Health, MIPI Department, 00161 Rome, Italy

Received 5 June 2013; Revised 16 September 2013; Accepted 16 September 2013

Academic Editor: Daniel A. Feeney

Copyright © 2013 Rosa Paparcone et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bone-marrow aspirate material is commonly considered as one of the most sensitive tissues for a reliable diagnosis of leishmaniasis. The procedure herein described may permit less experienced veterinarians to be familiar with a quick and safe assessment method for leishmaniasis diagnosis in their patients. Animals are positioned in right lateral recumbency, and the area corresponding to the second, third, or fourth sternebra is identified and aseptically prepared. A 18-gauge needle connected to a 10 mL syringe is driven through the skin, up to the bone wall, and firmly pushed forward while rotating. Entry into the sternebra’s cavity is clearly perceived by the fall of resistance offered by the cortex. Some 2,500 sternal bone-marrow samplings were safely and efficiently performed on 887 dogs of different breeds and aging from 6 months to 14 years, during eight years of clinical activity for routine diagnosis of canine leishmaniasis in pets or for the efficacy evaluation of anti-Leishmania immunobiologicals in dogs naturally exposed to parasite transmission. Most of the samples (1716) were from 387 dogs enrolled for anti-Leishmania vaccine studies. The safety of the method was particularly assessed on these dogs that as per study protocol were submitted to repeated bone-marrow aspirations (2–4 per year) in follow-up examinations.