Skin scrapes in cats

Skin scrapes are usually used to diagnose skin parasites, such as mange. They can be used for a diagnosis in any age of cat.

Skin scrapes are usually one of the first procedures done when looking into skin disease in cats. It is an extremely important step before further tests are done. They are easy to perform, and the results are quick.


What it’s for

What are skin scrapes for in cats?

  • Skin scrapes are usually one of the first procedures done when looking into skin disease.
  • They help diagnose diseases such as mange, fungal infections, or cancer.
  • The Vet will take a sample of skin cells to examine under a microscope
  • May cause slight discomfort, but it’s not painful
  • In some cases, the results may be negative, meaning that there is nothing abnormal found. This does not mean the test has failed, but that some causes can then be ruled out.
  • Unfortunately, the sensitivity of this test is less than 100%, which means even if the results are negative, your vet may still recommend a treatment trial.

skin scrapes in cats

How it’s done

How are skin scrapes done on cats?

Most cats will not need any sedation or anaesthesia for this procedure. Those who are nervous or stressed may be given some medication to make them sleepy.

  • Your vet will select a suitable area of skin. This will usually be an area with symptoms of the disease, such as hair loss.
  • Hair might be shaved off to allow for easier sampling
  • A drop of liquid paraffin may be applied to the skin first
  • A small scalpel blade is used to scrape the skin cells onto a slide
  • Multiple areas of skin are usually tested for accuracy
  • The cells are then examined under a microscope
  • Deep or superficial scraping may be taken depending on what your vet is looking for
  • With deep scrapes, the skin cells are taken until a slight oozing of blood can be seen. This is important for parasites that live deep in the follicles.
  • In some cases, these may need to be sent to a specialist
skin scrapes in cats
A scalpel blade is used for skin scrapes

How to prepare your cat for skin scrapes

No preparation is needed for skin scrapes unless sedation or anaesthesia is required.



How much do skin scrapes for cats cost?

Skin scrapes for cats are generally low-cost. Prices usually start around £30-50.

This may increase if sedation or anaesthesia is needed, if performed by a specialist, or if the sample is sent for a second opinion.



Are skin scrapes safe for cats?

  • Skin scrapes are very safe
  • Your cat may experience slight discomfort at the site during and immediately after the procedure.
  • Otherwise, there are no known risks

Recovery tips

How to help your cat recover after skin scrapes

  • Keep the area clean and dry after the procedure and monitor for any abnormal changes
  • Should not require any additional care


Call us and speak to one of our Joii Vets if you have any questions about skin scrapes in cats

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