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Skin Scraping Test in Dogs

A skin scraping test is non-invasive.

A skin scraping test might sound like an alarming thing when your vet tells you your dog needs one. However, it's actually non-invasive, usually painless, and can give the vet quite a bit of information when your dog has a skin problem.

What Is a Skin Scraping?

A skin scraping is when a veterinarian uses the edge of a scalpel blade to gently rub off a layer of cells on the part of your dog's skin that shows signs of an abnormal condition. Those cells are then smeared on a microscope slide, prepared with mineral oil, and examined to help diagnose the problem.

Generally, the skin is scraped until a small amount of oozing is noted. The area doesn't usually require any aftercare, though some veterinarians will clean it and apply a topical antibiotic.

What Canine Skin Conditions Might Be Diagnosed with a Skin Scraping?

A skin scraping can help diagnose the following conditions in dogs:

  • Mites, including scabies and Demodex.
  • Ringworm.
  • Bacterial or yeast infections.
  • Some types of skin cancer.

Scabies and Demodex mites can be directly identified on a skin scraping.

Bacterial and yeast infections may be diagnosed this way or by skin cytology, which is a test in which a swab is run firmly over the skin and then over a microscope slide.

Ringworm can sometimes be diagnosed with a skin scraping but might require a fungal culture, which is done by placing a sample of fur and skin on a special petri dish and growing it for several days to a week.

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