Wild Tiger Health Project
Created by Dr John C M Lewis

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Buccal mucosal bleed time

This test (BMBT) is used to assess a suspected primary coagulopathy. It is contraindicated in cases of thrombocytopaenia.

Tigers will need to be sedated unless they are small cubs. The tiger’s upper lip should be reflected back by an assistant, causing moderate engorgement of the mucosal surface. A small scalpel (e.g. 15 blade) should be used to make a small incision in the buccal mucosa. A timer should be started by the assistant at the same time. When making the incision superficial vessels should be avoided, and firm but not excessive pressure should be used. At 15 seconds post incision the flow of blood should be lightly blotted with absorbent paper placed 1-3mm below the incision without displacing the clot. The blotting should be repeated in a similar manner every 15 seconds until blood no longer stains the paper. At this point the timer can be stopped.

In healthy anaesthetised cats BMBT is less than 3.3 minutes. Prolonged BMBT may indicate thrombocytopaenia or thrombopathies.