Skin scrapes in dogs

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

Skin scrapes are usually one of the first procedures done when looking into skin disease in dogs. They are an extremely important step before other tests or medications are used. Skin scrapes are easy to perform and provide quick results.


What it’s for

What are skin scrapes for in dogs?

  • Skin scrapes are usually one of the first procedures done when looking into skin disease
  • Used to help diagnose diseases such as mange, fungal infections, bacteria or cancer
  • Involve taking 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 that even if the results are negative, your vet may still recommend a treatment trial.

skin test for dog


How it’s done

How are skin scrapes done on dogs?

Most dogs will not need any sedation or anaesthesia for this procedure.

  • Your vet will select a suitable area of skin; this will usually be an area with signs such as hair loss
  • Hair might be shaved off to allow a good sample area
  • 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 be may taken depending on what your vet is looking for
  • With deep scrapes, the skin cells are taken until a small amount of blood can be seen. This is important for parasites that live deep in the skin.
  • In some cases, the skin scrapes may need to be sent to a specialist
skin scrapes in dogs
A scalpel blade is used for skin scrapes


How to prepare your dog for skin scrapes

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



How much do skin scrapes for dogs cost?

Skin scrapes for dogs are generally low-cost. Prices often 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 dogs?

  • Skin scrapes are extremely safe
  • Your dog 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 dog recover after skin scrapes

  • Keep the area clean and dry after the procedure and monitor for any abnormal changes
  • No other additional care is needed


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

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