Welcome to the Dermatology Service at the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Skin diseases are very common in dogs, cats and horses, and it can be frustrating for owners to determine the most effective therapy. Dogs and cats suffer from a wide range of skin conditions that include allergies, reactions to flea bites and other external parasites, infections, chronic ear infections, skin cancers, immune-mediated skin diseases, solar damage or hair loss. Working closely with owners to determine the cause of the problem, the Dermatology Service’s faculty and resident veterinarians perform thorough evaluations to determine the best course of treatment. Together, client and clinician can identify, manage and provide treatment or a combination of therapies tailored for each animal.
Clinical Activities and Procedures
The skin can develop many diseases or may develop changes secondary to internal illness. The Dermatology Service deals with common and unusual skin problems in cats, dogs, horses and other animals.
Among the conditions we diagnose and manage are:
- Allergies that affect the skin. These include allergic reactions to external parasites, food and reactions to pollens and molds in the environment
- Identifying causes of hair loss
- External parasites
- Yeast and bacterial infections
- Unusual skin infections: mycobacterial, fungal and viral skin diseases
- Ear infections
- Skin cancers
- Auto-immune skin diseases
- Cutaneous drug reactions
- Inherited skin diseases
- Sampling from the skin for cytology to look for the presence of bacteria or yeast
- Sampling from the skin for culture of organisms
- Skin testing for pollen and mold allergies to customize allergy shots
- Serum allergy testing for pollen and mold allergies to customize allergy shots
- Food elimination diet trials for possible food allergies
- Obtaining skin biopsy samples for analysis by a pathologist
- Video otoscopy or CT scans for evaluation of ear infections
- Blood tests to evaluate overall health
Treatment options depend on the disease diagnosed and each animal's needs.
Treatment options for allergy include:
- Evaluation of and recommendations regarding food allergies
- Allergy shots
- Establishing strict control of external parasites
- Medications to control itching
- How do I make an appointment? Do I need a referral from my veterinarian?
- Call the VMTH and make an appointment. You do not need to be referred from your veterinarian. Although we do see many dogs and cats that are referred by their local veterinarian many owners come on their own to try and find out more about their pet's skin disease.
- How long does it take to get an appointment?
- The dermatology service receives appointments Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The service is very busy but we can usually find appointments fairly quickly for urgent emergency cases or to recheck patients having problems
- How long will the appointment take?
- A first visit is likely to take approximately 1 hour. Recheck appointments are often shorter. Checking in at admissions, going over take home instructions, waiting for prescription medications or diets will add another 30 to 45 minutes. You should plan to be at the VMTH for between 1 to 2 hours.
- Will a student be involved in the care of my pet?
- YES. We are a veterinary teaching hospital and veterinary students are involved in the care of all patients. On the dermatology service veterinary students obtain the history and initial physical examination, assist with obtaining samples and are involved in the discussion about how to manage your pet's problem. Students are always under direct supervision of a veterinary dermatologist. At each visit you will always meet and speak with one of the veterinary dermatologists.
- Can I be present during the examination of my pet?
- Absolutely. The dermatology service appreciates the input of the owner and encourages their active involvement in their pet's treatment and management
- Why was I told not to bath my dog before the appointment?
- In order to better manage your pet's skin problem we need to obtain samples from the surface of the skin. Bathing will alter the results obtained. We ask that you not bath for at least a week or two before your pet's appointment.
- What should I bring to the appointment?
- If possible bring all prior medical records from other veterinarians that have been providing care for your pet. In particular names and doses of medications, names of any special diets, and/or medicated shampoos, lotions or ear medications are very helpful.
Stephen White, DVM, DACVD
Chief of Service
Catherine Outerbridge, DVM, DACVD, DACVIM
Andrea Lam, DVM, DACVD
Laura Quilling, DVM
Marvin Schuldenfrei, VMD
Melissa Guerra, RVT