Most pet owners are unaware that scratching, licking, biting, and chewing are tell-tale signs of an underlying skin problem. While there are over 150 different skin diseases that can affect pets, managing skin problems is possible.

Skin disease or irritation can cause distress. To relieve that suffering, we offer dermatological testing and treatment that can help your pet live comfortably. In trying to diagnose and treat skin disorders, your role as a pet owner is essential. Discovering what causes flare-ups and irritation will primarily be your job. Pay attention to your pet’s reaction after eating, playing outside, and interacting with other animals. During your appointment, the veterinarian will discuss your observations to determine a series of laboratory tests that will help diagnose or treat your pet’s skin issues.

Common dermatological issues for pets:

  • Auto-immune disorders
  • Chronic ear disease
  • Disease of the foot
  • Ear infections
  • Flea allergy dermatitis
  • Hair loss
  • Hormone disorders
  • Parasitic, bacterial, or fungal infections
  • Skin allergies caused by contact, environment, or food
  • Skin cancer

What does treatment involve?

Our veterinarian will work with you and your pet to determine a treatment plan that is manageable. Trying to find the best method of therapy is an ongoing process that may take several attempts in order to discover an effective treatment.

To help with diagnosis, we may perform the following tests to supplement our initial prognosis of your pet’s condition:

Skin Scraping – The intention of performing a skin scraping is to discover if any parasites, such as mange mites, are responsible for your pet's skin problems. To perform the test, a small amount of mineral oil is applied to random sites and the area is scraped with a dull blade to try and get just below the surface near the hair follicle where mites like to live.  The material is placed on a slide and viewed under the microscope.

Otoscope Exam – Otoscopy is used to diagnose and treat chronic ear infections and diseases. An otoscope is inserted into the ear canal to identify any abnormalities, tumors, foreign bodies, or parasites that may be present.

Ear Cytology - An ear cytology is preformed to identify possible causes for infection such as yeast and/or bacteria and allow for the appropriate treatment to be selected.

Fungal Culture - A fungal culture is preformed on individuals suspected of having ring worm. It entails plucking a few hairs from areas of suspicion and placing them on a special plate that will allow fungus to grow and be identified if it is present.  Fungal cultures can take between 7 and 14 days to yield results.

Bloodwork - Labwork may be recommended to rule out metabolic or hormonal causes for your pet's skin problems.

Skin Cultures – If your pet exhibits a skin disorder that is resistant to all previously tested forms of treatment, a skin culture is typically used to test numerous treatments at one time. This will help determine a successful treatment to heal the affected skin without continually unsettling your pet.

Biopsies – A biopsy is often performed to diagnose various skin cancers and autoimmune skin disorders. A biopsy is executed by removing the affected skin, processing it, and examining the sample under a microscope. By enlarging the area, the veterinarian can usually determine the underlying issue.

If you have any questions about pet dermatology or think your pet might have a skin condition, contact our office today.