Dogs and cats suffer from many problems that affect their skin. It is important to understand that the skin is an organ, just as the liver and kidneys are organs. The skin functions as a barrier to protect the body from infection, caustic substances, ultra violet light and dehydration. Good health and proper function of the skin is dependent on the health and function of the other organs that make up our pets’ bodies.
Dermatology is the branch of medicine dealing with the skin and its diseases, a unique specialty with both medical and surgical aspects. A veterinary dermatologist is a veterinarian with expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of animal skin, ear, hair and nail disorders. They specifically have experience in the management of allergic skin diseases. Additionally, their professional background make veterinary dermatologists qualified in recognizing and treating infectious skin diseases (bacterial, fungal, viral), parasitic skin diseases, dander-related skin disorders, alopecia (hair loss), congenital skin diseases, autoimmune skin diseases, benign and malignant skin cancer, hormonal-related skin diseases, and other internal (systemic) causes of skin abnormalities. Chronic infections and inflammatory conditions of the ears are generally related to skin disorders and veterinary dermatologists have expertise in managing these chronic ear disorders.
Diseases that affect the skin can be placed into one of two categories: primary and secondary skin disease. Primary skin diseases are those that affect the skin directly, such as mange or flea and tick hypersensitivities. Secondary diseases are those that initially involve other organs, and thereby affect the skin, such as hyperthyroidism.
Accurate identification of skin lesions/sores and the patterns they form on animals is aided by the selection of proper diagnostic procedures. Veterinary dermatologists use many specialized diagnostic procedures including, but not limited to, skin cytology, skin scrapings, skin/ear cultures, skin testing, and skin biopsy.
Our board certified dermatologist is available by appointment to help keep your companion healthy and happy.