Lecture 16 Nett

A New Biopsy Technique to Improve Histopathological Evaluation of Avian Skin

Presenting Author: Claudia S. Nett, Thomas Tully, Jr., DVM, Dipl ABVP (Avian), Dipl ECAMS
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine, Baton Rouge, LA

Interpretive Review and comments by Dr. Nemetz:

A few papers have mentioned the importance of paired skin biopsies in the diagnosis of primary immunologic skin disease versus only a local skin condition. But the diagnosis given by the pathologist will only reveal the best answer if the sample submitted is of the best quality.

Avian skin is very thin compared to mammals and tends to curl on extraction and within formalin. A good pathologist can work around this situation, but does not lend itself to the best of interpretation. This group of veterinarians found a simple solution to this situation.

They used a 2 to 3-cm piece of nontranslucent self-adhesive tape (Scotch tape ) and attached it to the biopsy site before the biopsy procedure. Using a 6-mm biopsy punch, it was placed directly over the scotch tape and then the biopsy procedure was performed with gentle pressure with an alternating clockwise/counterclockwise rotation. Then the biopsy sample, still attached to the tape was placed in the 10% formalin fixative to be submitted to pathology.


Sometimes the simplest idea yields the greatest results. These veterinarians at the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine discovered a medical use for a product found in all homes and veterinary clinics: Scotch tape .Using this technique in the acquisition of skin biopsy samples is simple and will reward the practicing veterinarian with more clinically useful information from the pathologist reading these samples.