Acute leukemia is rare in horses. Herein we describe historical, clinicopathologic, and postmortem findings in 6 horses with acute leukemia. Medical records of horses with >20% bone marrow blasts and cytochemical or immunophenotyping results were reviewed. Affected horses were 2–8 y of age and of different breeds and sex. Horses were presented acutely with nonspecific signs (e.g., fever, lethargy). Characteristic hemogram findings were bi- or pancytopenia with low blast numbers. Histologic examination revealed extramedullary infiltrates, especially in lymph nodes, spleen, kidney, liver, and lungs. Leukemias were classified as B-cell (n = 3) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (n = 3). Tumors in 4 cases expressed multiple lineage markers, which complicated classification. Acute leukemia should be suspected in horses with moderate-to-severe bi- or pancytopenia. Blood smears should be reviewed for neoplastic cells, and bone marrow examination is required for diagnosis. Leukemia classification is best achieved using combined morphologic, cytochemical, and immunophenotyping results.
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- Acute lymphoblastic or myeloid leukemia