All pets itch, so why should I bring my pet to a dermatologist? Just like people, pets can be overly sensitive to certain irritants that cause them distress. Additionally, certain breeds are associated with skin conditions that bring discomfort to both the pet and the owner. Dermatologists are exposed to a broader range of these conditions on a daily basis and have learned how to identify the subtle differences between each condition. Dermatology for Animals can help provide relief for the pet and answers for the owner.
How do I know when to consult a dermatologist? Your pet can see a dermatologist anytime. If you are concerned with your pets’ quality of life, or if a condition or disease has failed to respond to general treatment, then it is time to see a dermatologist. Here are a few signs that an appointment should be scheduled:
-Hair Loss (Alopecia)
-Redness of Skin (Erythema)
-Pets’ and/or Owner’s Quality of Life
How can a dermatologist help?
In-House Diagnostic Tests
-Skin Scrapes are used to diagnose any parasitic component that could be causing symptoms. A dull blade is used to scratch the skin to acquire samples of skin cells and any parasites that may be present.
-Cytology of the skin is used to identify infection and cells that are indicative of autoimmune disorders. A slide or piece of tape is pressed to the skin, picking up samples of the cells and microorganisms present.
-Dermatophyte Cultures are used to identify ringworm. A gel-like substance is utilized to isolate and identify ringworm organisms.
Hypoallergenic Food Trial
A hypoallergenic food trial is used to diagnose food allergies. A pet is placed on a six to eight week diet trial that consists of a protein source (such as rabbit, duck or venison) and a carbohydrate source (such as potato) that the pet has not been exposed to before. No treats may be given during this time.
A biopsy samples the cutaneous portion of the skin for classification and possible identification of the changes within the tissue sample.
Intradermal Allergy Testing (IDAT)
An IDAT immediately identifies the environmental irritants that cause allergic symptoms. Various pollens and molds are injected under the skin and evaluated for the degree to which they stimulate the immune system. They appear as bumps and the more red and raised they are, the more allergic the pet is to that environmental irritant. Based on these reactions, Dermatology for Animals formulates an allergen that is injected into the pet for maintenance of allergy symptoms.
The video otoscope is a valuable tool that allows for accurate diagnosis and treatment of challenging cases of chronic otitis. It utilizes a highly magnified camera lens to examine the deeper parts of the ear canal, eardrum and middle ear. It is useful in identifying foreign objects and tumors in the ear canal, abnormalities of the eardrum, and infection of the middle ear. As well, instruments can be inserted through the video otoscope to grasp objects in the ear canal or to flush debris out of the ear canal and middle ear.
The laser is a very precise instrument that is used for the removal of small, superficial masses. Benefits include less pain and bleeding, faster recovery, and no suture material.instrument that is used for the removal of small, superficial masses. Benefits include less pain and bleeding, faster recovery, and no suture material.