What is histopathology?
Histopathology is the examination of samples of whole tissues and is performed on a solid piece of tissue that has been collected surgically.The piece of tissue is prepared through a process called histology by preserving, thinly slicing or sectioning, and staining the tissue sample with dyes. Once prepared, the tissue sections are examined under the microscope by a veterinary pathologist. Histopathology focuses on the architecture of the tissue and provides more information about the tissue than cytology.With this type of laboratory examination, the accuracy of a diagnosis is usually high. The veterinary pathologist can often offer an opinion on the likely course of the disease, what is called the prognosis. If the entire mass of tissue (the whole tumor) is submitted for examination, the pathologist may also offer an opinion as to whether the tumor has been completely removed i.e., if there are wide-margins (the amount of ‘healthy’ tissue surrounding the tumor). This information helps your veterinarian to decide the best course of treatment for your pet.
Who is the veterinary pathologist?
As with human medicine, the knowledge and skills of veterinary professionals are ever-expanding with increasing need for specialization and specialists in different subjects. The veterinary pathologist is a registered veterinarian who gives an expert opinion, based on specialized training and experience. Your veterinarian will base the treatment plan on the pathology report.
What can histopathology tell me about the tumor my pet has?
It is often impossible to say what ‘lumps and bumps are just by looking at them, but with histopathology (examining cells under the microscope) the pathologist can usually assign a classification and make a diagnosis.Cancers (malignant tumors) are usually classified by their tissue of origin and appearance.