We often see pets brought in exhibiting skin problems. Dermatological disorders we commonly see at Banks Animal Hospital include itchy pets, balding pets, pets with dandruff, skin infections, poor coat condition, skin cancers and parasite infestations. The skin is a good barometer of the health of the pet and problems with coat condition often indicate a problem elsewhere in the animal.
Some of the options available to determine skin disorders:
A thorough physical examination is needed to help determine the nature of your dog or cat’s skin problem including an exhaustive search for the elusive flea.
Skin scraping is completed to look for microscopic parasites that may infect the skin such as demodex (a mite) or sarcoptic mange (also a mite). It involves scraping the skin with a scalpel blade to obtain a sample. To get a good quality sample it is necessary to scrape the skin until it actually bleeds as some of the little critters we are looking for live deep in the skin. This does not hurt your pet and it looks a lot worse than it really is.
A skin biopsy involves removing a sample of the skin using a local anesthetic and sending it to a pathologist for examination. We often take skin biopsies when we suspect endocrine disorders or immune-mediated skin diseases or when we are just plain stumped!
Blood samples are used to check the general over-all health of your pet as well as to rule out specific skin disorders. Many hormonal imbalances which affect the skin such as hypothyroidism or Cushings disease can be ruled out with specific blood tests.
Allergy testing is sometimes done to try to determine the allergen responsible for certain types of allergic dermatitis. We can refer you to a allergy specialist if required.
We would be happy to discuss your pet’s skin issues with you. Please contact Banks Animal Hospital at (416) 461-7575