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Vet Clin Pathol. 2008 Sep;37(3):339-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1939-165X.2008.00045.x.

What is your diagnosis? Biopsy impression smear of a hepatic mass in a yearling Thoroughbred filly.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA.


A 1-year-old Thoroughbred filly was presented to the Cornell University Hospital for Animals with a 10-day history of fever, diarrhea, inappetance, and hypodipsia. Clinical pathology abnormalities found by the referring veterinarian included erythrocytosis, hyperproteinemia, and increased serum gamma-glutamyltransferase and lactate dehydrogenase activities. At Cornell University, the laboratory abnormalities were confirmed and also included thrombocytosis and hypoglycemia. Erythrocytosis persisted despite vigorous fluid therapy. Ultrasound examination revealed an extremely enlarged liver with abnormal echogenicity and a 21 x 25-cm hepatic mass with varied echogenicity. Imprints of an ultrasound-guided biopsy of the mass revealed a neoplastic epithelial population of uncertain origin, although the cells did not resemble hepatocytes. Together with the presenting signs, signalment, ultrasonographic findings, and persistent erythrocytosis, the cytologic findings were considered to be most consistent with hepatoblastoma. Histopathologic examination of the mass at necropsy confirmed the diagnosis and findings also included bone marrow erythroid hyperplasia. Serum erythropoietin concentration was 28.0 mU/mL (reference interval 1.0-11.8 mU/mL), supporting erythropoietin production by the tumor and secondary inappropriate erythrocytosis. To our knowledge, this report is the first to document secondary erythrocytosis with increased erythropoietin concentration in a horse with hepatoblastoma, and also the first to describe the cytopathologic features of this rare tumor.

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