Monday, April 13, 2020

Mosquito Bite Hypersensitivity

Mosquito Bite Hypersensitivity

Transmission/cause: Hypersensitivity or allergic reaction to mosquito bites. 

Affected animals: Mosquito bite hypersensitivity is a clinical entity in cats living in or near mosquito-endemic environments. 

Clinical signs: This disease generally presents seasonally with the increased presence of mosquitoes. There is no age or breed predilection, however the majority of affected cats spend are indoor/outdoor cats. Lesions generally occur on non-haired or poorly haired areas such as the bridge of the nose, ear flaps, or pads of the feet. Lesions usually present as small raised nodules (papules), that progress to plaques that often have an erosive or ulcerated, crusted appearance. 

Diagnosis: Diagnosis is most often based on clinical presentation and seasonal occurrence, and resolution with avoidance of mosquitoes, however, biopsy with histopathology is very helpful in eliminating other possible diseases with similar presentations, including autoimmune diseases, other hypersensitivity disorders or even dermatophytosis (ringworm). 

Treatment: The best option for treatment is avoidance and control of mosquitoes. Ideally, the affected cat should be kept indoors. If this is not possible, keeping the cat inside during dawn and dusk helps to decrease exposure. Mosquito repellents can be applied to the most affected and exposed areas, however cats can be very sensitive to the effects of certain repellent ingredients so it is important to ask your veterinarian which ingredients are safe. For cats that are severely affected, systemic or injectable steroids can be effective to control inflammation and resolve skin lesions. 

Prognosis: Good, as this has only seasonal occurrence.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020



Veterinary Services are Essential

Dear pet parents, groomers & referring veterinarians. 😽👩‍⚕️ We are happy to be able to continue caring for your fur babies and patients/clients during this stressful time. 😻🐶 

You will see this SIGN posted at our offices! Please call the phone number listed (at each location) and we will promptly assist you and your pet. 🐾📞

We appreciate your continued support and understating 👍Keeping everyone healthy & safe is our number ONE goal❗️

Have a beautiful day 🌼 and let us know if you have any questions. Our general, toll free number 877-604-8366 📱

(the Oakland CA office is closed for any refill pickups or appointments until April 6th. Dr. Hudec is providing telemedicine appointments out of our Walnut Creek CA office at this time)
Coronavirus/COVID-19 is a concerning topic for people everywhere, including pet parents. As your partner in caring for the overall health and wellness of your pets, we want to ensure you still have access to pet care   during this time. As a result, our facility remains open at this time to provide safe service to all.

Be assured that we have procedures in place addressing a variety of health and safety issues, and while we have always ensured the highest levels of cleanliness and sanitation, we have recently updated our health and safety guidelines in direct response to the emergence of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). These guidelines are based on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

These include updated hygiene practices, as provided by the CDC, that are good to follow in all seasons. Things like frequent and thorough hand washing, good coughing and sneezing  etiquette, and avoiding direct contact with others when you are sick. Our team members are being asked to stay home and take care of themselves if they, or their family members are ill. That's one way we can help minimize the spread of the illness for both pet parents and team members.

Please continue to schedule your appointments, as needed. However, if you are scheduled or need to schedule an appointment with our practice and are presenting symptoms of COVID-19, or are confirmed positive, please contact us so we can provide you options for your pet’s care.

Caring for our team members, our clients, and your pets is the cornerstone of our culture. And at this time, we'll need everyone's help to do that. We hope by working together, we can all do our part to help others to stay safe by using these best practices.

If you have any questions please feel free to call a Dermatology for Animals office or our toll free number 877-604-8366.  Thank you!




Also Known As: walking dandruff, Cheyletiellosis 

Transmission or Cause: Cheyletiellosis is caused by infestation of large mites who live on the surface of the skin. The mites live their entire life cycle (21 days) on the host. They are highly contagious, especially among young animals. Adult female mites are able to live without a host for up to 10 days. 

Affected Animals: Cheyletiellosis affects dogs and cats of any breed as well as rabbits and humans. 

Clinical signs: Animals affected with cheyletiella mites can be extremely itchy or hardly itchy at all. They will often get dry and scaly along their backs which can become more severe and spread to body-wide scaling. As the infection progresses, the itching becomes more severe. Patchy hair loss can occur caused be excessive scratching. Some cats may show few signs other than selfinduced hair loss from chewing and pulling out their fur. In humans, cheyletiella mites cause a red raised rash on the arms, trunk, and buttocks that eventually turns into a yellow-crusted area. Human infections usually resolve in 3 weeks if the host animal is treated. 

Diagnosis: The definitive diagnosis of cheyletiellosis is made by identifying the mites or their eggs. Scales can be collected with clear tape impressions, flea combing, or superficial skin scrapings which is then examined under the microscope. Cheyletiella mites are sometimes impossible to find on cats. If cheyletiellosis is suspected in your pet, treatment may be recommended even if no mites can be found. Prognosis: The prognosis for cheyletiellosis is good and usually resolves with treatment.

Treatment: Treatment of cheyletiellosis involves off label use of an anti-parasitic. 

Prevention: Cheyletiellosis usually does not occur in animals who receive regular flea and tick preventative.

Monday, March 16, 2020

What is Vitiligo?


Transmission or Cause: Vitiligo is a hereditary disorder of skin and/or hair pigment loss, and is caused by immune-mediated destruction of the pigment producing cells in the skin. 

Affected Animals: Although any animal or breed can be affected, vitiligo has an increased incidence in Rottweilers, Doberman pinschers, Belgian Tervurens and Siamese cats. 

Clinical signs: Symptoms usually begin in young adulthood. Patchy areas of pigment loss may involve the skin, hair or both. Most commonly affected areas include lips, nose, eyelids, face and footpads. There is no associated itching, inflammation, rash, skin ulcers, or crusts.

Diagnosis: Careful examination of clinical signs and skin biopsy to rule out other more serious causes of pigment loss such as lupus, uveodermatologic syndrome, or skin cancer are necessary. Skin biopsy shows loss of pigment and pigment-producing skin cells, but minimal to no inflammation or other abnormalities. 

Treatment: There is no effective treatment for vitiligo in companion animals. In humans, treatment options include topical immunosuppressive medications or ultraviolet phototherapy, but therapy often causes only partial improvement. 

Prognosis: Although the prognosis for regaining normal skin pigmentation is poor, in animals vitiligo is only a cosmetic disorder, with no effect on quality of life. In some animals, spontaneous repigmentation may occur.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Discoid Lupus - DLE

Discoid Lupus 

Also Known As: Cutaneous lupus erythematosus 

Transmission or Cause: Discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) is an autoimmune disease in which the animal’s own antibodies attack normal components of the skin. DLE is a benign variant of systemic lupus and has no systemic involvement. There is strong evidence that sunlight induces and/or exacerbates the disease process. 

Affected Animals: DLE affects dogs and cats, but where it is the second most common autoimmune disease in dogs, it is very rare in cats. There appears to be neither a sex nor age predilection in either species. Collies, German shepherds, Shetland sheepdogs, Siberian huskies, Brittany spaniels, and German shorthaired pointers have demonstrated predilection for DLE. 

Clinical Signs: Clinical signs of canine DLE include loss of pigmentation where the brown/black color of the nose changes to a slate blue or pink color, redness, and scaling of the nose. The disease can ultimately progress to significant destruction of the tissue, resulting in ulceration and crusting of the nose. Lesions may rarely involve the ear flaps, mouth and area surrounding the eyes. The affected dogs are otherwise healthy. In cats, DLE most commonly affects the ear and face, resulting in redness, scaling, crusting, and hair loss. Aside from the dermatologic lesions, affected dogs and cats are otherwise healthy. 

Diagnosis: As this disease can resemble other more serious diseases, including epitheliotropic lymphoma (cutaneous lymphoma), pemphigus, and systemic lupus, it is important to get a definitive diagnosis. Diagnosis is based on a supporting clinical history and biopsy with histopathology. Biopsy of the Discoid Lupus nose requires sedation or general anesthesia. The nose will be numbed prior to biopsy, and sutures (stitches) will be present where the biopsy was taken.

Treatment: Treatment is variable and often dependent on severity of lesions. In some dogs, sun avoidance alone may be sufficient in controlling the disease. In more affected animals, therapy may include any individual or combination of the following: topical and/or oral steroids, oral doxycycline, an antibiotic with anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties combined with niacinamide, a vitamin B derivative, and tacrolimus, an immunosuppressive topical ointment. Sun avoidance is essential in all affected animals, with applications of sunscreen providing additional protection. 

Prognosis: The prognosis of DLE is generally good, as this does not cause systemic illness. 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Canine Eosinophilic Furunculosis

Canine Eosinophilic Furunculosis

Transmission or Cause: The exact etiology and pathogenesis of this disease is not completely known but it is proposed to be due to an insect bite/sting which then triggers an acute allergic reaction.

Affected Animals:  This is most common in young, adult large-breed dogs, possibly owing to their lifestyle and inquisitive behavior.

Clinical Signs: Sudden onset of papules, nodules, crusts, ulceration, and bleeding lesions primarily affecting the bridge of the nose, muzzle, ears, and skin surrounding the eyes. Rarely, the skin of the abdomen and/or chest may also be affected. The majority of dogs are not itchy but some may experience pain associated with the facial lesions. Some dogs may feel ill can develop fever, decreased appetite, and/or lethargy. The lesions are typically sterile but a secondary bacterial infection may develop.

Diagnosis: Diagnosis of eosinophilic furunculosis is suspected in dogs with a suggestive history and classical, striking facial lesions. Skin cytology shows numerous eosinophils and blood work may show an elevated number of eosinophils. A skin biopsy reveals intense inflammation, characterized predominately by eosinophils, which generally center around hair follicles.

Treatment: Systemic glucocorticoid therapy (steroids) is very effective, with the majority of dogs responding rapidly within 24 to 48 hours. Lesions are typically completely resolved within 10 to 14 days of starting therapy. Systemic antibiotics and/or pain medications may also be indicated.

Prognosis: The prognosis is excellent and recurrences are rare, suggesting that dogs learn to avoid the offending insect/allergen.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020



Also Known As: Underactive Thyroid

Transmission or Cause: This condition is a result of a decrease in production and release of the T4 and/ or T3 hormones that are produced by the thyroid gland. The most common cause of Hypothyroidism is degeneration or inflammation of the thyroid gland. Other causes of this condition may include: congenital (hereditary) disease, iodine deficiency, malignancy (cancer) or the lasting response of some medical treatments. 

Diagnosis: Blood work will be submitted to the laboratory to measure the level of the thyroid hormones. Further laboratory work or diagnostics may be imperative for diagnosis. 

Treatment: Treatment involves the synthetic supplementation of the thyroid hormone by administration of an oral medication for the duration of the pet’s life. Further diagnostics will be warranted if limited response is observed, which will be decided by the treating veterinarian. 

Predisposed Dogs: There are several breeds of dogs that are predisposed to this condition. These breeds include: Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, Poodles, Great Danes, Cocker Spaniels and Doberman Pinchers. This condition is more commonly diagnosed in middle aged, sexually altered dogs. 

Symptoms: Some of the symptoms of Hypothyroidism include: drastic and unexplained weight gain, dull and brittle hair coat, alopecia (hair loss), recurrent pyoderma (skin infection), excessive dander, lethargy/low energy and neurologic deficits. 

Prognosis: The prognosis of this condition is dependent on the cause. Generally, this condition has a very good prognosis. This condition will likely need long term daily treatment. When the thyroid hormone has become regulated with treatment, the symptoms will decrease and the pet’s quality of life will improve over time. 

Long Term Management: Medication will need to be given once to twice daily long-term for the control of this condition. Initially, blood work will need to be preformed every 4-6 weeks until the levels are within an acceptable range for improvement. Long term, blood work will be required at least every 6 months to measure levels to determine appropriate dosing. It is probable that the dose of medication may need to be adjusted at some point during this process.