I have seen some define the the skin punch biopsy procedure as being "not much worse than getting a microchip".
With all due respect, this could be further from the truth, and those Hav owners (pet or show) who wish to submit their affected and non-affected dogs' samples to this study, should know what to expect. It would not be very nice for a pet owner to go in thinking that this is just like inserting a microchip, only to have their dog come back with multiple 6mm incisions that are sutured with anywhere from 1 to 3 stitches. We all know that no sutures OR local anesthetic (lidocane) are required for microchipping. Personally, I would not be a happy camper if full disclosure is not made about how this procedure is conducted, and we are all about full disclosure of everything health related, right??
So, in this regard, I'd like all of those who are being so generous and offering their puppers to participate in this study to know exactly what to expect- no surprises.
Here us a link to a report with pictures, http://www.rottweilerhealth.org/pdfs..._castle_02.pdf
and also attached is an excerpt from a newsletter:
Commonly Asked Questions
About Skin Biopsies
by Kelly M. Credille, D.V.M., D.A.C.V.P.
The skin punch biopsy is a useful tool in the diagnosis of skin
problems when used as part of a thorough workup. It can be
used to aid in the diagnose of autoimmune diseases, hair loss
diseases, infections, and sometimes allergies, as well as other conditions.
Sometimes the biopsy is nondiagnostic too.
1. How much discomfort does a skin biopsy cause and will there be
Other than the discomfort your dog feels when given the local
anesthetic, a skin biopsy is a painless procedure. Most biopsies,
including the 6 mm diameter biopsies needed for SA screening, are
taken using a local anesthetic very similar to that used in your
dentist’s office. For each biopsy needed, a small amount (at most a
quarter of a teaspoon) of anesthetic will be injected under the skin at
the site to be sampled.
As you probably know from the dentist, the anesthetic can sting
while being injected, but soon afterwards the site is numb for hours.
The needle used to inject the anesthetic is small and causes only a
small pinprick when inserted into the skin. Once the skin is numbed,
your dog should not feel any discomfort for the rest of the procedure.
To take the biopsy, a simple instrument called a biopsy “punch” is
used. The “punch” consists of a hollow, cylindrical blade attached to
a plastic handle. The blade is placed on the skin and with pressure
and a circular wrist motion, it is used like a cookie cutter to remove a
core of skin. The biopsied site will bleed a small amount but this
usually stops after a few minutes.
After the cylindrical plug of skin has been removed, one or two
skin sutures will be placed to close the biopsy site. Again, because of
the local anesthetic, your dog will not feel the suturing. Once the
biopsy site is closed, it should not be painful to your dog. After seven
to 10 days the site should be healed and the sutures will need to be
removed — a process that only takes a few seconds. Because the
biopsy punch is so sharp, the edges of the biopsied site will heal
together quickly and leave only a very small scar that is completely
hidden by the hair coat.
2. Are there any complications of a skin biopsy?
Because a skin biopsy is such a simple procedure, complications
are rare. The most common is bleeding from the site after the dog is
home. If this happens, applying pressure to the site for a few minutes
with gauze from your home first aid kit should stop the bleeding.
Some dogs will remove their own sutures prematurely, and in these
cases the site will have to heal on its own. This will slow the healing
process and may result in a slightly larger scar, but even here, any
scar is very hard to detect after the coat re-grows, even in shortcoated
An unusual side effect of skin biopsies that we see occasionally
and your vet may mention, is that hairs may grow back a different
color at the biopsy site. Usually if the coat is light, the new hair will
be darker. In dark or black dogs, the re-growth may be white. Often
the hair color will correct itself but this may take some time.
Because the skin heals so well, skin biopsies do not need to be
taken using the same measures to ensure sterility as more invasive
procedures. This means the site does not need to be scrubbed vigorously
prior to the biopsy, but just gently cleaned with alcohol. Very
rarely, perhaps one in several hundred cases, an infection can develop
at a biopsy site. If an infection occurs, the biopsy site will feel
hard, appear red and may drain. This will slow healing and may
result in a slightly larger scar at the site. If you think this is occurring,
contact your veterinarian, as antibiotics may be needed to clear the
Finally, veterinarians are always careful about the total amount of
local anesthetic injected. If given in excess, and if enough is absorbed
into the dog’s system, the anesthetic can depress the heart
rate and induce seizures. This is virtually never a problem in an adult
dog, but must be kept in mind on the rare occasions when many
biopsies are taken from a small puppy.
3. How much of my dog’s show coat will have to be clipped in
order to perform the biopsy?
As we have discussed above, skin biopsies are not sterile procedures
and extensive and close clipping of the hair does not have to
be done. In order to maximize the cleanliness of the biopsy site, it is
optimal to clip long hair out of the way before taking the biopsies
and if your dog is being biopsied as part of a work-up for a skin
disease, we would recommend allowing your vet to clip the coat as
much as they think necessary.
For dogs in show coat, biopsies can be taken with no or minimal
clipping at the biopsy site; however this will slightly increase the risk
of infection, as hair may be brought into the surgical site. We have
found that some veterinarians are willing to take punch biopsies for
SA screening without clipping when the dog is in full show coat. If
this is important to you, this should be discussed with your vet before
taking the biopsy specimens. ■
Note: The dermatologists listed below have agreed to a diagnostic protocol
for evaluating skin biopsies for the presence of sebaceous adenitis:
Dept. of Vet. Pathobiology, Texas A&M University, c/o Robert Dunstan,
DVM, MS, Diplomate, ACVP, SA Research Project, or Kelly M. Credille,
DVM, Diplomate ACVP; 210 B Texas Veterinary Medical Center, College
Station, TX 77848-4467; Phone (409) 845-2651
Ann M. Hargis, DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVP, Dermato-Diagnostics, c/o
HCS, 85 SE Eighth Ave., P.O. Box 1109, Oak Harbor, WA 98277; Phone
Maron B. Calderwood Mays, VMD, PhD, Florida Animal Resources,
13703 Millhopper Rd., Gainesville, FL 32653; Phone/Fax (352) 331-8032.
Brian Wilcock, DVM, PhD, 21 Vardon Dr., Guelph, ON, Canada, N1G
1WB; Phone/Fax (800) 853-PATH
Yager-Best, c/o Vitatech, 151 Esna Park Dr., Unit 13, Markham, ON,
Canada, L3R 3B1; Phone (800) 667-3411; Fax (905) 475-7309 (Susan J.
Best, DVM, DVSc and Julie Yager, BVSc, PhD)