Which patient may need a biopsy?
Biopsy of the skin may be recommended in patients with progressive skin changes despite medical management. Many skin diseases can look similar clinically, and often the deeper layers of the skin can provide additional information and a diagnosis. If a patient’s skin disease is progressive and causing discomfort a biopsy may be the most informative first step in the treatment of your pet.
How is a biopsy performed?
A skin biopsy procedure involves obtaining a tissue sample with the use of a local anesthetic (numbing agent) or sedation. Due to our advanced training, we are able to select the most diagnostic lesions for tissue biopsy. A veterinary dermatologist is also adept at identifying factors that may complicate the diagnostic quality of a skin sample such as secondary bacterial infection. When skin biopsies are required to achieve the correct diagnosis and prognosis for an unusual skin disease in a patient, Animal Allergy & Dermatology of Colorado works closely with pathologists who specialize in the interpretation of the skin diseases unique to our companion animals.
Now the biopsy is complete then what?
The sample is sent to a specialist called a dermatopathologist. A dermatopathologist can recognize subtle changes in skin biopsies, utilize specialized laboratory staining methods, and consult with our dermatologists on an individual basis to maximize the diagnostic value of skin biopsies, and so enhance our ability to treat our patients successfully.