CAN HISTOPATHOLOGY TELL ME ABOUT MY ANIMAL?
- It is frequently impossible to say
what these are by just looking at them. The pathologist looks at
the microscopic appearance to decide.
- Often they are not cancer so,
where this is the case, pathology can reassure you that there is
nothing seriously wrong.
- Sometimes pathology is needed to
assess progress of the disease and whether the current treatment
needs to be modified.
a biopsy can also be useful before
surgery to plan a surgical approach, increasing the chances of a
- The veterinary pathologist adds a
prognosis (the probability of what will happen) and often
information such as recent research which may be of interest to
you and your veterinary surgeon.
- Often more than one sample is
needed so that different stages of the problem may be checked.
- The technique can be very useful
in the early stages of some conditions but sometimes your
veterinary surgeon will suggest stopping treatment and waiting
until the right stage is present. This is very important if you
are to get the best results.
- Some skin diseases are only
diagnosable by histopathology and a few may indicate disease elsewhere
in the body.
Diseased parts of the body
- The pathologist describes what is
happening, suggests which causes are possible and which can be
disregarded and the probable outcome (prognosis).
pathologist cannot make a diagnosis without reasonable proof so
occasionally, and particularly where it is difficult to get a
large enough sample, microscopic diagnosis is not possible.
- The pathology usually rules out
- There are a few inconclusive
results (needing a second biopsy) but not false diagnosis of
- Your veterinary surgeon will
usually be able to tell you which samples may be a problem.
no animal lives for ever and
pathology may help to explain what has happened in unexpected
ARE THERE ANY LIMITATIONS?
- Not every skin disease has
pathology which is specific for a single cause but the pathologist
is often able to suggest a group of diseases, eliminate others and
so reduce the range of possible diagnoses.
- Even with a diagnosis,
some conditions may not be curable and careful management of the problem may be
- Alternatively, the biopsy may help
your veterinary surgeon decide if an alternative treatment or
referral is needed.