Objective—To compare bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid obtained by manual aspiration (MA) with a handheld syringe with that obtained by suction pump aspiration (SPA) in healthy dogs.
Animals—13 adult Beagles.
Procedures—Each dog was anesthetized and bronchoscopic BAL was performed. The MA technique was accomplished with a 35-mL syringe attached to the bronchoscope biopsy channel. The SPA technique was achieved with negative pressure (5 kPa) applied to the bronchoscope suction valve with a disposable suction trap. Both aspiration techniques were performed in each dog in randomized order on opposite caudal lung lobes. Two 1 mL/kg aliquots of warm saline (0.9% NaCl) solution were infused per site. For each BAL fluid sample, the percentage of retrieved fluid was calculated, the total nucleated cell count (TNCC) and differential cell count were determined, and semiquantitative assessment of slide quality was performed. Comparisons were made between MA and SPA techniques for each outcome.
Results—1 dog was removed from the study because of illness. The mean percentage of fluid retrieved (mean difference, 23%) and median TNCC (median distribution of differences, 100 cells/μL) for samples obtained by SPA were significantly greater than those for samples obtained by MA.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—In healthy dogs, BAL by SPA resulted in a significantly higher percentage of fluid retrieval and samples with a higher TNCC than did MA. Further evaluation of aspiration techniques in dogs with respiratory tract disease is required to assess whether SPA improves the diagnostic yield of BAL samples.