The Dermatology Service

Facilities and procedures

We have a dedicated dermatology room with excellent facilities.

Our facilities and expertise

We have high quality Olympus and Leica microscopes with video capture, allowing us to closely examine samples from the skin and hair looking for evidence of parasites, infections and other conditions. We have on-site Pathology and Microbiology teams, ensuring that samples are processed quickly and receive expert attention. We have particular expertise in the diagnosis and care of infections with antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as MRSA and MRSP. Some conditions are multi-systemic and being based in a large referral hospital allows us to work with colleagues in other disciplines to provide first class and comprehensive care.

Allergy testing and immunotherapy

Allergies are a very common cause of pruritus and distress in dogs, cats and horses. Animals most commonly react to house dust mites, but we also test for allergies to a wide range of fibres, insects, tree, weed and grass pollens, and moulds. Intradermal tests are preferred, as these show a direct skin reaction to the allergen, but we also use serological tests where necessary. We sedate dogs and cats, and then inject 0.05ml of up to 59 allergens intradermally. We read the reactions after 15 minutes and the whole test takes 30-40 minutes. Intradermal allergen tests in horses are very similar except that we perform the test standing and read the reactions at 15 minutes and 4 hours.

We can give advice on allergen avoidance. We also use the results to formulate for allergen specific immunotherapy to desensitise the patients. We offer both traditional injectable immunotherapy and oral sub-lingual immunotherapy with a variety of protocols including one-day induction courses. We will discuss these with the owner to decide which is most appropriate for each animal. We also provide advice and back up for you when managing the case in your practice.

Video-otoscopy and ear flushing

Otitis is a very common problem. Many cases are secondary to skin diseases, such as atopic dermatitis, and it is important to look for the predisposing problem. This is particularly true in recurring or chronic cases. We use CT and MRI to assess the deeper tissues and the middle ear. Our video-otoscope is used to examine the ear canals and the tympanic membranes in great detail. We can also use this to flush material from the ear canals and middle ear, and directly instil medication into the middle ear. In collaboration with our neurology service we can offer hearing tests using Brainstem Auditory Evoked Responses (BAER). Some severe cases of chronic ear disease require surgery, which can be performed by our in house surgeons.

Laser surgery

We have access to Diode and Ho:YAG lasers that can be used to treat a variety of lesions including polyps and other small tumours, blood vessel abnormalities and some inflammatory conditions. Lasers are quick and effective, and the treated sites heal well with minimum pain and haemorrhage. Laser catheters can even be passed down our otoscope to treat polyps and other problems deep in the ear canal avoiding the need for extensive surgery.

Chronic foot problems

Chronic foot inflammation (pododermatitis or ‘interdigital cysts’) is very common and can be very serious. There are usually multiple causes and a careful approach to identify all the potential triggers is needed. Early diagnosis and management is the key to successful management. Long standing cases often need aggressive anti-inflammatory treatment, and laser surgery might be necessary to remove scar tissue and restore normal foot anatomy in severe cases.