Skin Biopsy – Q & A with Shawn Messonnier, DVM

Q::”When do you recommend a skin biopsy? My cat Felix has crusty skin around her mouth and is not improving with her therapy (antibiotics and steroids.) A friend asked if her doctor had recommended a skin biopsy, but so far he has not. Is this something I should have done for her? She has had this problem for over 2 months.”


A: ”In my opinion, a skin biopsy is a very valuable tool in medicine. Unfortunately, it is seldom used by many doctors. A biopsy is a simple procedure that can be done in most cases with mild sedation or light anesthesia combined with a small dose of a local anesthetic. The procedure usually takes about five minutes, and in most cases stitches are not even necessary. While not always 100% diagnostic, in most cases a skin biopsy is the best test that can be done to determine the cause of your pet’s skin condition. I recommend a skin biopsy in several instances. First, if the skin lesions look strange and not typical of common skin disorders. Second, any time a pet has not responded to what I think should be the “correct” therapy. Finally, anytime I see a pet with a chronic skin disease (usually several months old) that has not improved or has worsened. I would suggest talking with your cat’s doctor as enough time has transpired for her to improve by now with the therapies your doctor has used for treatment.

Avatar Written by Shawn Messonnier DVM

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