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 those effects. 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.
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