A retrospective review of acute myeloid leukaemia in 35 dogs diagnosed by a combination of morphologic findings, flow cytometric immunophenotyping and cytochemical staining results (2007-2015)

Vet Comp Oncol. 2018 Jun;16(2):268-275. doi: 10.1111/vco.12377. Epub 2017 Dec 14.


Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is an uncommon, rapidly progressive neoplasm in dogs. The aim of this retrospective study was to characterize the clinical presentation, haematologic findings, diagnostic imaging results, treatment and survival time of a contemporary cohort of dogs with AML. Diagnosis was based on >20% blasts in bone marrow or blood identified as myeloid based on morphologic findings, flow cytometric immunophenotyping and cytochemical staining. Medical records of 35 dogs diagnosed with AML from 2007 to 2015 were included. Most dogs presented with inappetence (66%) and lethargy (57%) and physical examination findings of peripheral lymphadenopathy (74%) and tachypnea (62%). Common haematologic findings were quantifiable circulating blasts (85%; median blast count 35 700/μL; range: 300-276 500/μL), anaemia (median haematocrit 34%; range: 11%-52%) and thrombocytopenia (median 57 000/μL; range: 9000-252 000/μL). Bicytopenia and pancytopenia were each found in 44% of dogs. Follow-up information was available for 34 dogs. The overall median survival time from diagnosis was 19 days (range: 1-121 days). Clinical progression in some dogs was not as rapid as previously reported. Haematologic responses to various chemotherapeutics were documented in 3 dogs, with associated survival times of 62, 103 and 121 days. Dogs treated with prednisone or a combination of chemotherapy and prednisone had improved survival compared to dogs that received symptomatic care only (P < .0001). Our results show canine AML has an overlapping clinical presentation with lymphoma. The prognosis for canine AML remains extremely guarded. Further studies are needed to optimize therapeutic regimens for dogs with AML.

Keywords: dogs; flow cytometry; myeloid leukaemia; neoplasms; survival.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dog Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Dog Diseases / drug therapy
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / veterinary
  • Histocytochemistry / veterinary
  • Immunophenotyping / veterinary
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / diagnosis
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / veterinary*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival


  • Antineoplastic Agents