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Evaluation of the effect of routine histologic processing on the size of skin samples obtained from dogs

S. Brent Reimer DVM1,2, Bernard Séguin DVM, MS3, Hilde E. DeCock DVM, PhD4, Peter J. Walsh DVM, MS5, and Philip H. Kass DVM, PhD6
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  • 1 Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 2 Present address is Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011.
  • | 3 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 4 Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 5 Department of Surgical and Radiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.
  • | 6 Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, CA 95616.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effects that routine histologic processing has on the dimensions of samples of normal skin of dogs and assess whether the inclusion of a muscle or fascial layer in such samples alters those effects.

Sample Population—Skin samples obtained from 6 medium-sized adult dogs with grossly normal skin.

Procedure—From each dog, skin samples (with or without underlying fascia or muscle) were obtained from 3 sites bilaterally (6 samples/dog) and processed routinely for histologic evaluation; their dimensions were measured at intervals during the experiment.

Results—As a result of processing, skin samples decreased in size (combined percentage change in length and width) and increased in thickness, compared with their original dimensions. Samples without fascia or muscle decreased in size by 21.1% to 32.0% and increased in thickness by 45.1% to 75.8%. The site of sample origin influenced processing-associated changes in sample size but did not affect the change in thickness. Decreases in dimensions did not vary with inclusion of fascia but did vary with inclusion of muscle. The change in thickness did not vary with inclusion of a layer of fascia or muscle.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Processing of skin samples obtained from dogs for histologic evaluation can cause changes in sample dimensions; samples may decrease in length and width by as much as 32% and increase in thickness by 75.8%, compared with their original dimensions. The presence of muscle in canine skin samples can restrict the amount of shrinkage in length or width associated with processing. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:500–505)

Abstract

Objective—To determine the effects that routine histologic processing has on the dimensions of samples of normal skin of dogs and assess whether the inclusion of a muscle or fascial layer in such samples alters those effects.

Sample Population—Skin samples obtained from 6 medium-sized adult dogs with grossly normal skin.

Procedure—From each dog, skin samples (with or without underlying fascia or muscle) were obtained from 3 sites bilaterally (6 samples/dog) and processed routinely for histologic evaluation; their dimensions were measured at intervals during the experiment.

Results—As a result of processing, skin samples decreased in size (combined percentage change in length and width) and increased in thickness, compared with their original dimensions. Samples without fascia or muscle decreased in size by 21.1% to 32.0% and increased in thickness by 45.1% to 75.8%. The site of sample origin influenced processing-associated changes in sample size but did not affect the change in thickness. Decreases in dimensions did not vary with inclusion of fascia but did vary with inclusion of muscle. The change in thickness did not vary with inclusion of a layer of fascia or muscle.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Processing of skin samples obtained from dogs for histologic evaluation can cause changes in sample dimensions; samples may decrease in length and width by as much as 32% and increase in thickness by 75.8%, compared with their original dimensions. The presence of muscle in canine skin samples can restrict the amount of shrinkage in length or width associated with processing. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:500–505)