Why Should I see a Board-Certified Veterinary Dermatologist?

Just like in humans, allergies, ear disorders, and skin infections can make life miserable for a pet and the people around him or her. Some disorders can even threaten the life of your pet. Like in human care, there are times when your primary veterinarian cannot provide the extent of care needed for a certain ailment, you should be referred or seek the care of a specialist.

Our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Amy Randall, is highly experienced and trained in diagnosing and treating allergies and disorders of the ear in small domesticated animals. Her primary concerns are to identify your pet’s allergies and develop a treatment plan to minimize the severity or completely eliminate your pet’s allergic reactions.

Dr. Randall’s guidance and experience will enable you to select the best treatment strategy – from the most conservative therapies to the latest dermatological procedures and diagnostic testing options.

What is a veterinary dermatologist? What does board certified mean?

A veterinary dermatologist is a veterinarian who has completed an internship and residency program in the field of dermatology after completing veterinary school. The residency program is a 2 to 3 year program that is specifically focused on dermatological cases. In order to become board-certified with the American College of Veterinary Dermatology, the veterinarian must successfully pass a rigorous examination covering all aspects of veterinary dermatology and allergy. Board-certification is the highest level of specialization in veterinary medicine today. Currently, there are less than 300 board-certified veterinary dermatologists in the United States.

While some veterinarians may have a special interest in dermatology, only board-certified veterinary dermatologist have the in-depth knowledge and training to make an educated decision on the best options for your individual pet.

What Are The Benefits of Having My Pet Tested for Allergies?

Early testing can improve the success rate of treatment by as much as 90 percent. Testing can help identify the best treatment for your pet; therefore eliminating recurring skin and ear infections and removing the pain your pet may be experiencing. Most of all, testing and subsequent treatment will improve your pet’s quality of life while enhancing your enjoyment of your animal companion.

Why Should I Have My Pet’s Allergies Treated At The Animal Allergy and Ear Clinic?

The primary mission of our doctor and support staff is to treat our clients as we do our own families and to treat our client’s animal companions as though they are our own. At all times, our clients and patients will be treated with respect, dignity, and the utmost compassion. Our medical mission is to readily identify the cause of your pet’s problem and provide treatments to achieve the maximum comfort for your pets. This is our promise to you.

Do I need a referral?

The Animal Allergy & Ear Clinic provides a wide-range of dermatology services. You do not need a referral from your primary veterinarian to schedule an appointment with our office. Routine veterinary services, such as health certificates and vaccines, should continue to be provided by your primary veterinarian. We will report all testing results and treatments to your primary veterinarian along with providing him or her with complete records for your pet’s chart. We’ll always be there for any of your pet’s allergy problems.

What will my pet’s first appointment be like?

Your primary veterinarian can make a referral or you can call us at (503) 574-4150 to arrange an appointment for your initial, comprehensive examination. The examination will take around an hour to complete.

After the examination, if the doctor determines that your pet will benefit from allergy testing, there are certain protocols that you need to follow, both if the allergy testing is done that same day or if we will be scheduling it for a future date..

What should I do to Prepare for Allergy Testing?

Please bring a list of all medications your pet is currently taking. Certain medications may need to be withdrawn to ensure the accuracy of the test. Also, no food should be given to your pet the morning of the test, as your pet will be sedated for his or her comfort during the procedure.

If you wish to do testing the same day as the initial examination, please ask the receptionist about the required protocol when you make your appointment.

What Do Clients Need To Know About Allergy Testing For Atopic Dermatitis?

Accurate allergy testing is currently available for animals with atopic dermatitis (environmental allergies) but not food allergic dermatitis. Allergy testing is performed after the diagnosis is made rather than to make the diagnosis.

After the veterinarian diagnoses atopic dermatitis, allergy testing is performed to determine what the animal is allergic to in the environment, ideally so the animal can start receiving allergen-specific immunotherapy (allergy vaccine). Allergy testing can be performed via intradermal skin testing. Intradermal skin testing is considered the gold standard.

When Should I have an Allergy Test Performed on my Pet?

Generally, if your pet has any of the following symptoms, a comprehensive exam should be considered:

  • Excessive itching and scratching
  • Licking or chewing of a paw, tail, or patch of skin or fur
  • Discoloration (redness) of the skin
  • Recurring skin infections
  • Recurring ear infections
  • Unpleasant odor from the skin, fur, or ears
  • Recurring “hot spot” or rash

When is skin cytology necessary and how is it done?

Skin cytology – the microscopic evaluation of material collected from the skin – provides valuable information that helps determine:

  • the type and degree of infection present
  • if there is evidence or suggestive features of parasites
  • if a normal or abnormal immune response is present
  • if immune-mediated or neoplastic diseases are present

Important items identified on cytology include:

  • bacteria
  • yeast
  • neutrophils
  • eosinophils
  • acantholytic cells (cells present in pemphigus foliaceus or, more rarely, dermatophytosis)
  • neoplastic cells

Technicians can collect samples for skin cytology via direct impression smear using clear adhesive tape to lift the sample, a cotton swab to obtain exudate, or metal spatulas to obtain material from nail beds. Different slides need to be used for different locations and lesions, and the slides will be labeled accordingly.