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New technique for skin biopsies in birds
Skin biopsies are a viable diagnostic tool in dermatology and therefore also taken in birds. Due to the very thin avian skin, their biopsies have the tendency to roll or contract, both leading to severe difficulties to separate artefacts from real pathological changes. This new biopsy technique using a tapestrip is quick, inexpensive and gives good results.

In this technique nontranslucent self-adhesive tape (Scotch tape®) was attached to skin biopsy sites before obtaining skin biopsies using a standard skin biopsy punch instrument.

A total of 23 skin biopsy specimens were obtained: 15 from nonfeathered skin of 12 normal Hispaniolan parrots, 3 from feathered skin of 2 normal birds and 5 from feathered skin of 3 psittacines presented for pathologic feather-picking. All 23 skin specimens consistently adhered to the tape during the biopsy procedure. The specimens were fixed in 10% neutral phosphate-buffered formalin.

During processing, no curling or rolling of specimens occurred, and all specimens could be easily orientated for correct trimming and subsequent histopathological evaluation.

The tape technique did not produce any appreciable artefacts. Remnants of the tape were microscopically evident above the stratum corneum assuring that none of the stratum corneum was lost during processing.

Obtaining avian skin biopsy specimens using this modified tape technique is easy and ensures flat fixation of the skin biopsy specimens, which later allows trimming at right angles, and through the longitudinal diameter of feather follicles for accurate histopathologic evaluation.


Source: Nett, C. S., Hodgin, E. C., Foil, C. S., Merchant, S. R. & Tully, T. N. (2003): A modified biopsy technique to improve histopathological evaluation of avian skin.
In: Veterinary Dermatology 14 (3), 147-151.
Photo: www.animostar.com/vos_photos/ image/oiseaux/amazone.jpg



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