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High-frequency ultrasonography of the skin of clinically normal dogs

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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bologna, Via Tolara di Sopra 50, I-40064 Ozzano Emilia (BO), Bologna, Italy.
  • | 2 Department of Veterinary Public Health and Animal Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bologna, Via Tolara di Sopra 50, I-40064 Ozzano Emilia (BO), Bologna, Italy.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Teramo, Teramo, Italy.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Public Health and Animal Pathology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bologna, Via Tolara di Sopra 50, I-40064 Ozzano Emilia (BO), Bologna, Italy.
  • | 5 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bologna, Via Tolara di Sopra 50, I-40064 Ozzano Emilia (BO), Bologna, Italy.
  • | 6 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bologna, Via Tolara di Sopra 50, I-40064 Ozzano Emilia (BO), Bologna, Italy.

Abstract

Objective—To assess the applicability of high-frequency diagnostic ultrasonography for evaluation and accurate measurement of the skin thickness of clinically normal dogs.

Animals—26 healthy dogs (12 sexually intact males, 13 sexually intact females, and 1 spayed female) of various breeds and ages.

Procedure—Ultrasonographic examination of the skin and histomorphometric analysis of skin biopsy specimens obtained from the same site were performed. A 13-MHz linear-array transducer was used to obtain a series of ultrasonographic images of the skin in the flank region; images were analyzed and measured by use of imaging software. Cutaneous biopsy specimens were placed in fixative and then stained with H&E and Masson trichrome stains. Histomorphometric analysis was performed by use of an image analyzer. Thickness of the epidermis and dermis of each specimen was evaluated by use of a semiautomatic procedure of quantification. Data obtained from ultrasonographic and histologic measurements were compared by use of the Pearson correlation test.

Results—The ultrasonographic pattern of canine skin was consistently characterized by 3 distinct, defined echogenic layers corresponding to the epidermal entry echo, epidermis and dermis, and subcutaneous tissues. A positive correlation was found between ultrasonographic and histologic measurements of skin thickness.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Comparison between ultrasonographic and histologic appearance of the skin revealed that layering of canine skin (ie, epidermis and dermis) and the subcutaneous tissues may be recognized and measured by use of high-frequency ultrasonography. Thus, diagnostic ultrasonography may be a useful tool for the noninvasive evaluation of cutaneous disorders in dogs. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1625–1630)

Abstract

Objective—To assess the applicability of high-frequency diagnostic ultrasonography for evaluation and accurate measurement of the skin thickness of clinically normal dogs.

Animals—26 healthy dogs (12 sexually intact males, 13 sexually intact females, and 1 spayed female) of various breeds and ages.

Procedure—Ultrasonographic examination of the skin and histomorphometric analysis of skin biopsy specimens obtained from the same site were performed. A 13-MHz linear-array transducer was used to obtain a series of ultrasonographic images of the skin in the flank region; images were analyzed and measured by use of imaging software. Cutaneous biopsy specimens were placed in fixative and then stained with H&E and Masson trichrome stains. Histomorphometric analysis was performed by use of an image analyzer. Thickness of the epidermis and dermis of each specimen was evaluated by use of a semiautomatic procedure of quantification. Data obtained from ultrasonographic and histologic measurements were compared by use of the Pearson correlation test.

Results—The ultrasonographic pattern of canine skin was consistently characterized by 3 distinct, defined echogenic layers corresponding to the epidermal entry echo, epidermis and dermis, and subcutaneous tissues. A positive correlation was found between ultrasonographic and histologic measurements of skin thickness.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Comparison between ultrasonographic and histologic appearance of the skin revealed that layering of canine skin (ie, epidermis and dermis) and the subcutaneous tissues may be recognized and measured by use of high-frequency ultrasonography. Thus, diagnostic ultrasonography may be a useful tool for the noninvasive evaluation of cutaneous disorders in dogs. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1625–1630)