Thursday, June 25, 2020

4th of July Pet Safety Tips

For many people, nothing beats lounging in the backyard on the Fourth of July with good friends and family—including furry friends. While it may seem like a great idea to reward your pet with scraps from the grill and bring him along to watch fireworks, in reality some festive foods and activities can be potentially hazardous to him. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center offers the following tips:

  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
  • Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. This is particularly true for older animals who have more delicate digestive systems and nutritional requirements. And keep in mind that foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
  • Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.
  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and tiki torch oil products out of reach. Ingestion can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.
  • Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
  • Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, who can become frightened or disoriented by the sound. Please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities, and opt instead to keep them safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.

Specialty Veterinary Dermatology Services in Northern Arizona!

We are excited to provide Specialty Veterinary Dermatology Services to Northern Arizona!

Dermatology for Animals will be seeing patients every Tuesday beginning July 7, 2020.

Our doctors will be available at our new location to best serve your clients and their pets.

Dr. Anthea Schick will be seeing cases one Tuesday a month and Dr. Katrina Frost and Dr. Lydia Harbour the other Tuesday's.

We will be sending out information packets in the coming weeks. 
Let us know if you have any specific needs.

Appointments can be made at 480-633-2277

We are looking forward to being part of the Prescott community.

Dermatology for Animals
2245 Highway 69
Prescott, AZ 86301

Phone: (480) 633-2277
Fax: (888) 683-6111

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.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Anal Sac Disease/Infections

Anal Sac Disease/Infections 

Also Known As: Anal sac impaction, anal sacculitis, anal sac abscess 

Transmission or Cause: The cause of anal sac infections is unknown. Excessive anal gland fluid production, soft feces or diarrhea, poor muscle tone, and obesity contribute to higher risk of developing anal sac infections. 

Affected Animals: Although any dog may be affected, small breeds such as Chihuahuas, dachshunds, and miniature or toy poodles are more commonly examined for anal gland problems. Cats are rarely affected by this condition. 

Overview: Anal sacs are the reservoirs for the discharge of anal glands which are located on either side of a dog’s anus. These sacs contain liquid secretions from the anal gland, which, in healthy animals are normally pale yellow-brown to grayish in color. The contents are usually emptied during normal bowel movements or when a dog is nervous or scared. In most animals, these sacs empty easily and regularly. However, some dogs, especially small breed dogs, are not able to empty the sacs properly and become susceptible to anal sac disease. There are three progressive stages of anal sac disease which include: anal sac impaction, anal sacculitis (inflammation), and anal sac abscess. 

Description: Impaction of the anal sacs occurs when the anal gland secretions thicken inside the sac and becomes unable to empty during a bowel movement. Anal sacculitis, or inflammation of the anal sac, is an infection usually resulting from impaction but may also be caused by bacterial growth within the anal sac. During the sacculitis stage, the impacted fluid may become thinner and fill with pus. Abscess occurs when the inflammation of the anal sac has reached an extreme stage. At this point, a red-brown substance will be seen coming from the sac. The sac will usually be enlarged, warm, red, and painful. Usually, the abscessed sac will rupture, leaving a hole near the side of the rectum that oozes a foul-smelling liquid. The tissue surrounding the abscess will swell, causing more inflammation and pain. 

Clinical Signs: Symptoms of anal sac disease include scooting across the floor, licking the area around the anus, straining to defecate, biting at or chasing the tail, discharge, swelling, and/or pain around the area. A dog with anal sac disease may scoot their rear end on the ground in an attempt to relieve the sensation of pressure and irritation around its rectum. When an abscess ruptures, pus discharge may be seen draining from the lesion. The area surrounding the abscess may appear red, swollen, and painful. 

Diagnosis: Diagnosis of anal sac disease is made clinically with a rectal examination. Infected anal sacs are often very painful and some dogs may need sedation before a thorough examination can be done. Normal anal sac fluid varies in color but brown, yellowish-green, or red tinged secretions are typical of animals with anal sac disease. 

Prognosis: Most often antibiotics will resolve the anal sac infection. In many cases, expressing the anal sacs must be performed on a regular basis to prevent recurrence. 

Treatment: When the anal sac disease is at the impaction stage, the most common treatment is an outpatient procedure called expression in which the veterinarian applies pressure to the anal glands until the thickened secretions are expelled from the sacs. For the anal sacculitis stage of the disease, the same expression procedure is performed and afterwards, an antibiotic-steroid combination ointment is applied directly to the anal sac. In addition, the examining veterinarian may prescribe oral antibiotics to help fight infection. When anal sacs have abscessed, a surgical procedure is sometimes necessary. After sedating the dog or placing it under general anesthesia, the veterinarian will surgically open the infected anal sac to clean out the infected material and drain the remaining liquid. An oral antibiotic will usually be prescribed post-surgery. If infection continues after the surgery, surgical removal of the anal sac may be required. 

Prevention: Expression of the anal sacs every few weeks or months often will help prevent anal gland fluid from accumulating and becoming thickened. High fiber diets are suggested to help prevent anal sac disease in some dogs, especially those that are obese.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Why Does My Dog Get Ear Infections?

Why Does My Dog Get Ear Infections?

Also Known As: Otitis externa, otitis media, and otitis interna, inflammation of the external ear canal, middle ear infection, inner ear infection.

Transmission or Cause: Possible causes of otitis externa, which may lead to infections of the middle and inner ear, include allergies, hormonal diseases, excess moisture in the ears due to swimming or bathing; inappropriate treatment or cleaning of the ears such as may be caused by the use of cotton-tipped applicators; excess wax production in the ears; or a foreign body or tumor that is obstructing the ear canal. 

  • Additionally, otitis externa can be caused by parasites, (including ear mites or mange mites), and by autoimmune diseases. The most common cause of the development of otitis media and otitis interna is a bacterial infection resulting from otitis externa.

Affected Animals: Dogs and cats. Cocker spaniels and other long-eared or floppy-eared breeds may be more predisposed to developing infections.

Overview: An ear infection, or otitis, is an inflammation of the outer, middle, or inner ear canal. Most frequently, an animal will develop otitis in the outer ear that may worsen and spread into the middle ear. Once in the middle ear canal, the inflammation can move into the inner ear or, in cases in which the otitis has originated in the middle ear, the infection can instead progress outward to the external ear. Otitis can be caused by a tremendous array of factors, including allergies, hormonal diseases, excess liquid in the ear from swimming, autoimmune diseases, skin parasites, and excess wax production.

  • Generally, animals that develop ear infections have reddened ears that are painful to the touch and ooze a foul-smelling liquid. A punctured eardrum is not an uncommon result of a middle ear infection, and the more severe cases of otitis can lead to partial deafness, lack of balance, nausea and vomiting, and problems with the nerves of the eye.

Clinical Signs: Clinical signs can vary depending on the severity and location of the infection, but typical symptoms of otitis include pain and erythema of the pinna (earflap), head shaking and scratching of the ears, and pus and malodorous exudate coming from the ear canal. The animal may tilt the affected ear downwards and may roll or lean to the affected side. If both sides are affected, the animal may be deaf or wobbly. Some animals may be nauseated, vomit, and have Horner’s syndrome (constricted pupil of the eye on the same side as the ear infection). Any neurological clinical signs indicate significant middle ear or inner ear disease.

Symptoms: Ears that are red, painful to the touch, and produce a foul-smelling discharge are symptomatic of otitis. Typically, a animal with an ear infection will scratch and shake the ears or may tilt the affected ear downwards. Animals that are affected more severely may show some neurological signs such as rolling or leaning to one side. If both ears are affected, the animal may be deaf or off balance and uncoordinated. Some animals may be nauseated and vomit. Also, some animals may get a condition called Horner’s syndrome in which the pupils are sized differently and the nictitating membrane (third eyelid) is raised. This condition indicates that a nerve has been affected by the inflammation from the middle ear. Any neurological clinical signs indicate significant middle ear or inner ear disease.

Description: Typically, ear infections begin with otitis externa and then progress deeper into the canal to the middle ear. When the inflammation in this region of the ear is chronic, the eardrum may rupture and the infection may spread to the inner ear or, the infection may begin in the middle ear and progress outward to the external ear.

  • Of the three types of otitis, infections in the inner ear are often the most severe and can lead to partial deafness and neurological problems.

In serious cases of otitis, the skin begins to form into folds in which the infection can become trapped, making cleaning and use of topical treatments very difficult. In addition, the skin will secrete more wax and debris that allows yeast and bacteria to overgrow, causing further disease. Severe inflammation leads to permanent skin thickening, mineralization, and narrowing of the ear canals. Once this occurs, the only viable treatment will be surgical removal of part or all of the ear canal.

Diagnosis: The veterinarian will make a diagnosis based on the clinical signs, physical exam findings, and through the use of several other diagnostic tools. One such tool is cytology, which involves taking a swab of the ears and looking at the material collected under a microscope for the presence of bacteria, yeast, mites, and other substances that might cause an infection. Bacteria and yeast are normally present in low numbers in all animals’ ears, but a large presence will lead to an ear infection.

  • Allergy testing or a hypoallergenic diet trial may be needed to identify underlying allergies. Blood testing may help investigate hormonal abnormalities. Skin biopsies may be needed to determine any diseases such as an autoimmune disorder that could cause a skin abnormality affecting the ear. Skin scrapings may be needed to detect mites, tiny parasites that can infect the ears and cause skin diseases. X-rays of the skull or CT scan can be used to examine the middle and inner ear for signs of disease. In addition, cultures of an infected ear help determine the presence and type of bacteria, as well as antibiotics that are appropriate for treatment. The majority of animals with ear problems have such pain in their ears that they cannot withstand having them examined, cleaned, cultured, or x-rayed without the use of general anesthesia.

Prognosis: With proper treatment, otitis externa usually will resolve within three to four weeks, although it may recur in certain animals. Animals with otitis media or otitis interna may need 1-3 months of systemic antibiotics. The key for long-term success is correcting or treating the underlying problem that led to the development of the otitis.

Treatment: After the cause of the otitis has been diagnosed, the veterinarian usually will perform a thorough cleaning of the ear canals while the animal is under sedation or general anesthesia.

  • The use of topical medications, which are placed into the ear canal, is often very beneficial in killing yeast, bacteria, and mites. Oral medications also may be used in conjunction with other treatments to help kill bacteria, yeast, and mites. The technician or doctor will teach the animal’s owner how to clean and medicate the ears properly to ensure successful treatment of otitis. 

The surgical correction of the ear canals may be necessary in cases of severe infection. One type of surgery, called a lateral ear canal resection, allows the ear to drain more easily, decreases the amount of humidity in the ear, and makes topical treatments easier to apply. A total ear canal ablation, a complete removal of the ear canal, is performed on animals with severe, chronic ear disease that is nonresponsive to medical therapy.

Prevention: Prevention is best accomplished when the veterinarian is able to determine the underlying factors that can lead to development of otitis.

  • Proper cleaning of the ears is also critical. A veterinarian can explain how to clean the ears, as well as how to apply any medications that have been prescribed to treat the otitis.

Monday, January 27, 2020



Also Known As: pyotraumatic dermatitis 

Transmission or cause: Potential underlying causes for hot spots include parasites (especially fleas or scabies mites), allergies (flea, pollen, food), skin infections by bacteria or fungus, or trauma. 

Affected Animals: Hot spots can affect dogs of any age, breed, or gender, but they occur most commonly in thickcoated/longhaired breeds, and in dogs with underlying causes such as parasites or allergies. Hot, humid weather can contribute to the development of hotspots. Hot spots occur rarely in cats. 

Clinical signs: Hot spots start when a dog incessantly licks, chews or scratches a focal area of the body in response to a painful or itchy sensation. The result is a rapidly developing area of redness, hairloss, oozing and eroded skin that is often painful and infected with bacteria. Hot spots occur most frequently on the trunk, base of the tail, outer thigh, neck or face. 

Diagnosis: The diagnosis of hot spot is by clinical presentation and history, and by ruling out other causes of hairloss and red skin such as skin parasites or fungal infection. Diagnostics may include close examination for fleas, skin scrapes for microscopic analysis, or fungal cultures. Additionally, it is important to identify and address the underlying cause of the hot spot, and in recurrent cases diagnostics may also include trial therapy for fleas or scabies, allergy testing, or a hypoallergenic diet trial. 

Prognosis: The prognosis for cure of hot spots is good, although they will tend to recur if the underlying cause is not addressed. 

Treatment: The treatment for hot spots often includes clipping and gently cleaning the affected area (this may necessitate sedation), then application of topical antibacterial and/or steroid-containing products to the area (products that contain alcohol should be avoided). Additionally, many cases need 2-3 weeks of systemic antibiotics for secondary bacterial infection, and/or a short course of oral steroids to stop self-trauma. Some dogs will need an Elizabethan collar to restrict contact with the area for several days. Treatment of the underlying cause is also important, and may include trial therapy for fleas or scabies, a hypoallergenic diet trial, or allergy hyposensitization injections based on allergy testing. 

Prevention: Prevention of hotspots is done by keeping the dog clean and parasite free, and the hair coat brushed and free of mats. It is often helpful to clip long coated dogs down in the warm months. Animals with underlying allergies must have these allergies addressed to avoid hot spot recurrence. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

Sebaceous Adenitis

Sebaceous Adenitis 

Transmission or cause: The cause of sebaceous adenitis is unknown but the end result is inflammation of the sebaceous or oil gland associated with the hair follicles. Loss of the sebaceous gland leads to dysfunction of normal hair growth which results in hair loss. The underlying cause is probably a combination of genetic predisposition and immune-mediated sebaceous gland inflammation.

Affected animals: Sebaceous adenitis is an inflammatory disease that mostly affects young adult to middle aged dogs. Cats are rarely affected. Some breeds of dogs that are prone to sebaceous adenitis include Standard Poodles, Akitas, Vizslas, Samoyeds, and Belgian Sheepdogs. It is believed to be a recessive inherited trait in Standard Poodles.

Clinical signs: Most dogs will show a bilaterally symmetrical hair loss and excessive scaling especially around face, head, ears and trunk. Some dogs may develop a bald “rat-tail”. Many dogs may have a secondary bacterial infection of the skin with pimples, crusting and possible odor. Belgian Shepdogs may have a severe draining ear infection. Vizslas and Dachshunds often have circular areas crusting of hair loss that can spread and eventually merge together. The hairs of affected animals often have adherent surface debris surrounding the base of the hair called ‘hair casts’. Akitas often have more severe disease with red inflamed skin and greasy crusting and matting. Sebaceous adenitis is usually not itchy but can be if there is secondary infection.

Diagnosis: Sebaceous adenitis is suspected when the history and clinical signs are consistent. Microscopic examination of hairs from dogs with sebaceous adenitis often shows obvious hair casting. The definitive diagnosis of sebaceous adenitis is made by taking a skin biopsy which involves removing small pieces of skin after numbing the area with anesthetic and submitting the skin samples to a pathologist.

Prognosis: Some dogs can spontaneously improve but most dogs need lifelong control of their sebaceous adenitis. It is mostly a cosmetic disorder with no internal manifestations of disease.

Treatment: The treatment for sebaceous adenitis may involve anti-inflammatory therapy, retinoid drugs or vitamin A along with anti-scaling shampoos and emollient rinses. Treatment of secondary infections, if present, is also important. Some dogs respond better to some treatments than others, and trying different therapies may be necessary. The goal of therapy is to alleviate and slow progression of symptoms, but only partial improvement may be seen.

Prevention: Prevention of sebaceous adenitis involves not breeding affected animals.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Zinc Responsive Dermatosis

Zinc Responsive Dermatosis

Transmission or Cause: Two distinct syndromes have been recognized: 

Syndrome I zinc-responsive dermatosis: is associated with a defective intestinal absorption of zinc despite being fed a nutritionally well-balanced diet. 

Syndrome II zinc-responsive dermatosis: occurs in rapidly growing puppies / young dogs being fed zinc deficient diets or diets which have high phytates (plant proteins), diets high in minerals, such as calcium, which can interfere with zinc absorption, and/or are fed cereal or soy based diets. Prolonged gastrointestinal disease resulting in chronic enteritis and diarrhea can also interfere with zinc absorption. 

Affected Animals: Syndrome I zinc-responsive dermatosis – This syndrome has been recognized primarily in Alaskan malamutes and Siberian Huskies. Skin lesions typically develop in young adults but onset of disease has been described in older pets. Syndrome II zinc-responsive dermatosis – This syndrome has been described in a plethora of breeds, including the Great Dane, Doberman pinscher, beagle, Boston terrier, German shepherd, and standard Poodle, amongst others. 

Clinical Signs: 

Syndrome I – Skin lesions tend to first occur in September through January and can worsen during estrus or times of stress. Lesions present as red skin with hair loss and crusting around the mouth, chin, eyes and ears. The scrotum, vulva, prepuce and pressure points, such as the elbows and footpads, can also be affected. Lesions are typically itchy.

Syndrome II – Skin lesions typically form on pressure points, nasal planum and footpads and present as thickened, crusted plaques. Fissures can form in thickened, crusted areas. Affected dogs can also have enlarged lymph nodes and develop secondary skin infections. 

Diagnosis: Diagnosis in both syndromes is made through physical examination, a thorough history and biopsy. Hair and serum levels of zinc may also be abnormal; however, analysis of zinc can be difficult and unreliable and so this test is not typically performed.


Syndrome I – Oral zinc supplementation typically brings rapid resolution of the clinical signs. Some dogs do not achieve clinical resolution with oral zinc supplementation alone; in those cases, low doses of corticosteroids are beneficial. Some dogs also benefit with the addition of fatty acids in addition to zinc. Intact female dogs should be spayed. Treatment is generally lifelong. 

Syndrome II – Treatment is focused on dietary correction and treatment of secondary bacterial and yeast skin infections. Generally lesions should resolve within 2-6 weeks with dietary manipulation, but concurrent zinc supplementation can hasten the resolution. Unlike Syndrome I, zinc supplementation can be discontinued after a few weeks. 

Prognosis: Prognosis is good with response to therapy.