SkinVet’s Team Treats Allergies, Ear, and Skin Problems

The highest quality of care

The team members of SkinVet Clinic understand the special bond between people and their pets and how skin diseases can impact your pet’s quality of life. Our goal is to provide your pet with top quality care in a comfortable and caring environment.

Specialized tools of veterinary dermatologists

Skin and ear diseases are common causes of discomfort of dogs and cats. Pet owners are referred to SkinVet by primary care veterinarians when these problems keep recurring, don’t respond to normal therapy, appear unusual, or for the specialized testing and treatment that we offer.

A dermatologist brings a wealth of specialized experience to your pet’s medical team. Chances are we’ve seen your pet’s condition before—this experience guides our recommendations. Nonetheless, diagnostic testing may be needed to diagnose and monitor a pet with skin or ear disease. Because so many dogs have allergies, we are also experts in the use of specialized treatments, like Apoquel®, Cytopoint™, RESPIT®, and allergy immunotherapy.

  • Allergen immunotherapy for atopic dermatitis
  • Apoquel® therapy for atopic dermatitis and allergic dermatitis
  • Cytopoint™ therapy for atopic dermatitis
  • Dietary recommendations
  • Ear cleaning and video otoscopy
  • Flea products
  • Intradermal testing for allergies
  • Managing pyoderma
  • Mange and parasite detection and therapy
  • Percutaneous prick testing for allergies
  • Regionally-specific immunotherapy (RESPIT®)
  • Ringworm diagnosis and therapy
  • Skin biopsy
  • Flea products
  • Topical therapy recommendations
  • Tumor removal with radiosurgery

Allergen immunotherapy. The only treatment for allergies that is directed at the underlying triggers is known as allergen immunotherapy. By introducing small amounts of allergen extracts (pollens, dust mites, and mold spores), the immune system becomes desensitized to future natural exposure. We offer several options for allergen immunotherapy. With allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT), a customized extract is made for your pet, based on results of an intradermal test (IDT) or percutaneous prick test (PPT). With regionally-specific immunotherapy (RESPIT), an extract standardized for the region is prescribed, without relying on allergy test results. Both methods have certain advantages. Each is available as either an injectable or oral prescription.

See the infographic for a summary of allergy immunotherapy

Apoquel® therapy. As one of the first clinics in the Northwest to receive Apoquel when it was launched, we are very experienced in its use. Apoquel blocks a receptor for a molecule (IL-31) that signals to dogs that they are itchy. This tablet is by prescription only and is used for atopic dermatitis or “allergic dermatitis”, either short or long-term. We monitor our patients at least every six months for the first two years that they take Apoquel. It is not approved for cats.

Cytopoint™ therapy. Cytopoint, also known as canine atopic dermatitis immunotherapeutic, or CADI, is a monoclonal antibody directed against IL-31. It is given by subcutaneous injection every 4-8 weeks to dogs with atopic dermatitis. We gained early and extensive experience with Ctyopoint before it became more widely available.

Dietary recommendations. The skin is a reflection of overall health. In some cases we may recommend a diet formulated specifically for skin health. In others, we may recommend a limited-ingredient diet (LID) or hydrolyzed protein diet to evaluate a pet for food allergy. These diet trials usually last for 6 weeks or more.

Ear cleaning and video otoscopy. Chronic or recurrent ear infections are one of the most common reasons that pets see veterinarians. SkinVet dermatologists have the expertise and equipment to cope with uncomfortable ear infections. We often perform ear canal cytology to microscopically examine the ears for bacteria, yeast, and signs of inflammation. Ear cytology is also an important part of treatment follow up. To better visualize the long ear canal of dogs and cats with bright light and magnification, we are able to use our video otoscope equipment. When a deep ear cleaning is required, we are able to flush under visualization in the delicate deep ear canal. Anesthesia is required for this procedure.

Watch the video to see an ear flush and grass seed removal

Flea product recommendations. The number of new flea products and their relative actions and benefits can get confusing. We keep up to date and can guide you in selection of a product that is a good fit for your pet. Dogs and cats should stay on year-round flea control in our relatively mild climate. If you wait until you’ve found a flea, you already have an infestation in your home. An already itchy pet can really be set back by flea bites.

Managing bacterial infections of the skin (pyoderma). The past 20 years has seen a rise in the rate of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections of the skin, especially in dogs. The most common bacteria causing this is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP). We often collect samples from skin lesions to microscopically evaluate pets for infection with bacteria or yeast. When your pet’s history and skin cytology findings suggests a resistant strain of bacteria, we recommend a bacterial culture to aid in the selection of an effective treatment, which may include antibiotics and/or topical therapy.

Drs. Carnett and Plant examine cytology sample

Parasite detection. We are skilled in the use of skin scrapings to detect external parasites on the skin, including Demodex, Sarcoptes, and Cheyletiella mites. This is often one of the first diagnostic tests we will recommend because these mites generally cause curable skin problems. In some cases they are contagious to other pets or people, in others they are not. Knowing where and how to take a sample can make the difference between finding and not finding these microscopic critters. To learn more about the conditions caused by these mites, visit our FAQ pages.

Radiosurgery mass removal. Small skin masses can often be removed with local anesthesia and radiosurgery. Sedation or anesthesia may be required depending upon temperament and the location of the mass. These need to first be be assessed at an examination.

Ringworm diagnosis. We use a number of techniques to diagnose ringworm, a fungal infection of the skin and hair. Ringworm may be contagious to people and does not always produce the ring-like skin lesion from which it gets its common name. Tests that may help us confirm or rule our ringworm (dermatophytosis) may include Wood’s light examination, KOH trichogram, fungal culture (DTM), skin biopsy, or PCR detection.

Watch ringworm grow on a fungal culture plate

Skin biopsy. Certain diseases can only be definitively differentiated from each other by having a tissue sample (biopsy) examined by a pathologist. Some skin biopsies can be taken with local anesthetic alone; others may require sedation or anesthesia. We work closely with a dermatopathologist to arrive at a diagnosis. In most cases, we can use a biopsy punch instrument that takes a small sample and only requires a few stitches at each site. Skin diseases that require a skin biopsy to be certain of the diagnosis include autoimmune disease (i.e. pemphigus foliaceus, discoid lupus erythematosus), inflammatory diseases (i.e. sebaceous adenitis), and skin cancer (i.e. squamous cell carcinoma, cutaneous lymphoma).

See the microscopic appearance of pemphigus foliaceus

Topical therapy recommendations. We often recommend a shampoo, mousse, and/or spray to complement the overall treatment of your pet. Medicated shampoos can be very helpful in controlling pyoderma (bacterial skin infections), scaling and crusting (seborrhea), and yeast (Malassezia) dermatitis.