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
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)