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 here with our staff or if you should go straight to a dermatology veterinary specialist.
Common dermatological issues for pets:
Chronic ear disease
Disease of the foot
Flea allergy dermatitis
Parasitic, bacterial, or fungal infections
Skin allergies caused by contact, environment, or food
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 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.
Intradermal Allergy Testing (We do not offer this service at the Cape Ann Veterinary Hospital but will refer you to someone who does if this type of diagnostics is needed) – The intention of performing intradermal allergy testing is to discover exactly which allergens your pet reacts to. To perform the test, a patch of hair is shaved, and a grid is drawn on the skin. Common pet allergens are injected into separate squares on the grid. The dermatologist then examines the grid after a waiting period of 20 minutes. All swollen, red injection-sites indicate a positive allergen.
Video Otoscopy (We do not offer this service at the Cape Ann Veterinary Hospital but will refer you to someone who does if this type of diagnostics is needed) – Video otoscopy is used to diagnose and treat chronic ear infections and diseases. A magnified camera is inserted deep into the ear canal to identify any abnormalities, tumors, or foreign bodies that might exist. If immediate treatment is needed, tools can be attached to the otoscope to flush waxy build-up, perform surgery, or remove foreign objects.
If you have any questions about pet dermatology or think your pet might have a skin condition, contact our office today.