Human renal biopsies are routinely evaluated with light microscopy (LM) using a panel of histologic stains, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and immunofluorescence (IF) microscopy to obtain a diagnosis. In contrast, the pathologic evaluation of glomerular disease in veterinary medicine has relied mostly on LM and was of limited utility. To address this problem, recently established veterinary renal diagnostic centers have adopted methods used in human nephropathology for evaluation of renal biopsies. Three broad categories of disease, which have the greatest implications for clinical management of proteinuric dogs, have been established and include amyloidosis, immune complex-mediated glomerulonephritis (ICGN), and non-ICGN.
To demonstrate histopathologic, ultrastructural, and IF findings in renal biopsy specimens that experienced veterinary nephropathologists utilize to make accurate and clinically useful diagnoses in dogs with proteinuric glomerular disease and to provide guidelines for the proper evaluation of renal biopsies.
Renal biopsy specimens were routinely examined by LM, IF, and TEM. Samples were reviewed by members of the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Renal Standardization Study Group to identify lesions that were diagnostic for, or suggestive of, the presence of immune complexes (IC) or amyloidosis in all modalities. Ten guidelines for renal biopsy evaluation were formulated.
Each method of investigation contributed important findings that were integrated to make an accurate final morphological diagnosis. The guidelines were validated by an independent group of veterinary pathologists.
Conclusions and Clinical Importance
Routine evaluation of renal biopsies with LM, TEM, and IF is feasible and necessary for making accurate, morphologic diagnoses that can be used to guide clinical management of dogs with glomerular disease.