Friday, November 4, 2022

Mast Cell Tumor!

Have you seen this kind of cell before? πŸ”¬πŸ¦ Thanks to Dr. Hess for sharing this great photo! This is a Mast Cell Tumor!

Mast cell tumors are neoplasms (cancer) that arise from mast cells in the connective tissue. Mast cells are part of the immune system that release histamine and other substances in allergic reactions and other inflammatory conditions. The cause of mast cell tumors is unknown.

Affected Animals: In dogs, the average age of affected animals is 8 years old. Breeds that are considered at increased risk include, but are not limited to: boxers, Boston terriers, English bulldogs, pugs, golden retrievers, and Chinese SharPeis. Of these breeds, Shar-Peis can be younger when they develop tumors and may be more prone to developing multiple lesions.

In cats, the average age of affected animals is 10 years, but kittens can also be affected. Males and Siamese cats may be predisposed.

Clinical Signs: Lesions can be variable in their presentation and range from soft to firm, pink to flesh colored, and can be raised or in the subcutaneous tissue. Size can vary and although typically solitary, they can be multicentric. In dogs,
masses occur predominantly on the trunk, but can also be found elsewhere such as the limbs and head. In the cat, the head and neck are preferred sites.

Diagnosis: Diagnosis can be made by performing a fine needle aspirate and seeing numerous mast cells on cytology (looking at the cells under the microscope). When diagnosis cannot be made via cytology, then a biopsy with histopathology is diagnostic.

Treatment: Treatment decisions for cutaneous mast cell tumors in the dog are based on the location of the tumor, clinical stage, and histologic grade. Management of mast cell tumors includes but is not limited to, surgical excision, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. In cats, mast cell tumors are generally benign and treatment may be limited to surgical excision or cryotherapy.

Prognosis: Prognosis in the dog ranges from excellent to poor, depending on the location of the tumor, histological grade and whether metastatic disease is present. In the cat, given that the majority of these cutaneous tumors are
benign, the prognosis tends to be good.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Hepatocutaneous Syndrome

Hepatocutaneous Syndrome 

Also Known As: necrolytic migratory erythema, superficial necrolytic dermatitis, and metabolic epidermal necrosis.

Transmission or Cause: Hepatocutaneous syndrome is a disease characterized by degeneration of the skin cells likely as a consequence of a nutritional imbalance, resulting from metabolic abnormalities caused by severe liver dysfunction or a pancreatic tumor. 

Affected Animals: Hepatocutaneous syndrome is a disease that generally affects older dogs with no consistent breed predisposition. There have been very few reports of cats affected by hepatocutaneous syndrome. 

Clinical Signs: Skin disease is the usual presenting complaint, although some dogs will exhibit systemic illness (lethargy, poor appetite, weight loss) prior to the skin eruptions. The skin lesions frequently occur in areas of trauma such as the muzzle, lower legs, and footpads. Lesions can also affect the mouth, ear flaps, elbows, and genitalia. Most lesions consist of crusting, erosions or ulcerations, but blisters may also occur. Footpads are often severely thickened and fissured and are often painful. 

Diagnosis: Diagnosis is based on supporting history, physical examination, bloodwork abnormalities (such as elevated liver enzymes and low protein levels), and skin biopsy results. Abdominal ultrasonography frequently reveals a pathognomonic “honeycomb” pattern of the liver (due to liver degeneration) or less commonly a pancreatic tumor. In cats, the most common finding is a pancreatic tumor. 

Treatment: If a pancreatic or liver tumor is identified and able to be surgically excised, the skin lesions may normalize for an extended period of time, but because these tumors metastasize (spread to other areas of the body) quickly, surgery is not curative. In cases of end stage liver disease, surgery is not possible, and the goal of therapy is to increase quality of life and decrease uncomfortable skin lesions with supportive care and addressing the nutritional abnormalities. Supportive care includes supplementing protein and necessary minerals and enzymes through the diet and oral supplements or by weekly intravenous amino acid infusions that are performed in the hospital on an outpatient basis until improvement in the skin is noted. Unfortunately, despite the supportive care, the disease will progress. 

Prognosis: As this disease is a cutaneous marker for serious internal disease, the prognosis is poor with a survival time of less than a year in most cases.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Erythema Multiforme

Erythema Multiforme 

Transmission or Cause: The cause of this condition is unknown. Precipitating factors include medications, dietary substances, vaccines, and some infections, possibly including feline herpes virus and canine parvovirus. In many cases, the cause is idiopathic. 

Affected Animals: An uncommon to rare skin disorder that can affect both dogs and cats. 

Clinical Signs: The lesions associated with Erythema Multiforme can be vast and variable, but generally will present acutely and have a symmetrical appearance. In most cases, dogs and cats will have reddened flat or slightly elevated lesions that may or may not be crusted. 

Other clinical signs can include vesicles, bullae, ulcers, hives, hair loss and scaling. Lesions are typically found in the inguinal, axillary or head region but may also be found in the oral cavity, on foot pads, ears and mucocutaneous junctions. 

Humans with Erythema Multiforme will generally develop a typical target lesion, which is a round, sharply demarcated lesion with a least three different zones of color: a dark red disk is surrounded by concentric rings of edematous tissue and peripherally located reddened tissue. Although animals can develop similar lesions, they rarely develop the human equivalent of the typical target lesion. Some animals will present with systemic signs of illness, including fever, anorexia and depression. 

Diagnosis: Diagnosis is made via clinical presentation in conjunction with biopsy. 

Treatment: Many cases of Erythema Multiforme are mild and may be self-limiting. In any case, attempts to identify and correct underlying causes should be made. In cases of persistent disease, then immunosuppressive medications, such as prednisone, cyclosporine and azathioprine may be beneficial. However, when medications are tapered, recurrences can occur especially in idiopathic cases. 

Prognosis: Prognosis is guarded to fair depending on the severity of the skin lesions, whether an underlying cause can be identified and treated, and overall response to treatment.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Dr. Anthea Schick sees patients at Dermatology for Animals in Scottsdale, Arizona and she is an amazing team leader. BUT did you know - she is also National Specialty Director of Dermatology with Thrive Pet Healthcare?? 😍😻🀩

Click this link to see more...

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Ceva Platinum Sponsor

Thank you Ceva Animal Health for being a platinum sponsor of the 2022 Dermatology for Animals Doctor's Retreat!

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Dust Mite Allergy in Your Pet

 Dust Mite Allergy in Your Pet 

What are dust mites? 

Dust mites (also known as house dust mites) are very small animals that are not visible to the human eye. They live in pillows, blankets, carpets and soft materials in your house. They consume the dead skin that is exfoliated each day. 

What is a dust mite allergy? 

When dust mites eat, they give off waste. A dust mite allergy means that a person or pet is sensitive or allergic to the waste of dust mites.

How can I control the amount of dust mites around the house? Dust mites like to live in dark, warm and humid places. The best way to reduce dust mites is to focus on bedrooms and bathrooms. 

In the house 

 The most effective to reduce dust mite exposure is to use zippered allergen barrier covers on mattresses, pillows and pet beds. Breathable covers made from Microfiber are ideal, but also vinyl or plastic covers can be used. 

 Wash all bedding and rugs in hot water every 2 weeks to kill the live mites. 

 Remove fabric items that can collect dust and cannot be washed. 

 If possible, remove the carpet. Carpet is a large source of dust mites in any room. Shampooing carpets can increase dust mite growth. If you must clean the carpets, use a dry shampooing method. Having a hard floor that can be wiped down is best. 

 Clean floors, woodwork, walls, ceilings and fixtures with a damp cloth. If possible, do not use dry mops and dusters. When vacuuming, use a vacuum with a Hepa filter.

 Do not use vaporizers or humidifiers in the bedroom 

 The greater the humidity, the greater the growth of mites. Use a Hygrometer in the house to measure the amount of humidity. Ideal humidity is between 30%-50%. 

 If you have a gas furnace, when it is first turned on for the season it can circulate dust, mold and dander throughout the house. It is

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Acral Lick Granuloma

 Acral Lick Granuloma

Also Known As: Acral lick dermatitis, acral lick furunculosis, lick granuloma 

Transmission or Cause: The causes of acral lick granulomas include infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or mites; allergies, cancer, joint disease, or previous trauma; or an obsessive-compulsive disorder caused by boredom in some dogs. Dogs are provoked by these conditions to lick an area until they cause hair loss and erosion of the superficial skin layers. The consequence is further inflammation, which then results in more licking. With time, excessive licking can cause secondary infections, thickening of the skin, and changes in skin-color. 

Affected Animals: Acral lick granulomas may affect dogs of any breed and gender, however, males and dogs that are five years and older are more often affected. Breeds predisposed to this condition include Great Dane, Doberman Pinscher, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, German Shepherd, and Irish Setter. 

Overview: A commonly seen skin disorder of dogs, acral lick granulomas are skin wounds that are worsened by a dog's constant licking of the affected area. Because the repeated licking hinders healing of the lesion, dogs must be prevented from licking the area until the wound has healed completely. Acral lick granulomas have a wide variety of possible causes. The disease is often bothersome to pets as well as their owners. A veterinarian can implement appropriate medical therapies to treat the lick granuloma and to prevent recurrence. 

Clinical Signs: Lick granulomas are skin wounds typically located on the lower portion of the front or hind leg of a dog. Some dogs may have more than one area affected at a time. These lesions usually appear as firm, raised, hairless areas where the skin may be darkened due to the dog's continued licking of the area. The center of the lesion is usually ulcerated, red, and moist, or may be covered by a scab. Diagnosis: 

Diagnosis of acral lick granuloma and its cause requires a thorough history and physical examination. The following tests may be performed in order to determine the underlying cause of excessive licking: microscopic evaluation of cells from the wound, biopsy, allergy testing, and/or x-rays. Underlying conditions of the lesions include joint disease, cancer, bacterial or fungal infection, Demodex mite infection, previous trauma, allergies, and/or psychogenic licking. 

Prognosis: Because acral lick granuloma is difficult to cure, veterinarians usually give it a guarded prognosis. Dogs that receive early treatment have a better prospect of recovery than dogs with chronic conditions. 

Treatment: Treatment of acral lick granuloma requires addressing the underlying cause of the lesions. Bacterial infections, for example, are treated with antibiotics. Arthritis is treated with pain management and joint therapy. The obsessive compulsive component of the disease is more difficult to treat. The dog may be prevented from licking the area by using a type of mechanical blocking device such as a collar, muzzle, or bandage. Oral antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications may be helpful. A topical product may be used to decrease the itchiness of the area and aid in the healing process. If the lesion is small, it may be surgically removed, but recurrences are frequent. Radiation therapy has been tried in some cases, but its rate of success is poor. Laser surgery may be helpful in selected situations. 

Prevention: The best prevention is to treat the underlying cause of the granuloma and prevent further licking.

Thursday, June 9, 2022



Info from:,prove%20to%20be%20life%20saving.

1. Identification!

Perhaps one of the most important ways to be prepared is to have your pets properly identified. Make sure your pet is microchipped and, if they do not have one yet, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to have one put in place. A microchip is a small device about the size of a grain of rice that is implanted between your pets’ shoulder blades. The device can be scanned at a veterinary office or animal shelter and will display life saving information like your address and phone number. Remember that if you move or change numbers to also let your microchip company know so that they can update their records! Make sure identification tags are current and easy to read. Another helpful tip is to include information such as whether they need medication, or if they do not like other animals, on their tag to help emergency personnel know what type of care they need while they work on reconnecting you. It is also a good idea to have a current photo of you and your pet tucked away in their emergency kit. It could come in handy should you have to show a shelter employee or emergency worker in order to identify your pet.

2. Know where to go!

If you area is prone to flooding, wildfires, or any other type of natural disaster where you may have to evacuate, it is important to find a place outside of the area where you can take your pets with you. Whether you bring them to a friend or family member’s home, or to one of many pet friendly hotels, it is a good idea to have a list of options and contact numbers for where you might go. And remember – if you need to leave your home because the electricity is out and it too hot or too cold for you to stay, it is the same for your pets, don’t leave them behind!

3. Stay together!

Natural disasters can be frightening for us and even more chaotic for our pets. When transporting them, and for a few days after a disaster, it is important to have them on leash at all times while you are outside. Often times your area may have different smells that may lure pets away, or dangerous debris that they can get into. If your home has been damaged, remember to keep cats in a carrier or confined to an undamaged area of your home, they can surprise you with how small of an area they can squeeze through.

4. Make a kit!

Dog First Aid KitA premade kit can prove to be vital should you have to evacuate your home. Good items to keep in your pet’s kit include a few days worth of food, bottles of water, extra medication, copies of veterinary records, poop bags, cat litter and pan, sturdy leashes and collars, first aid kit (comes in handy for people too!), list of pet friendly hotels, dishes, and if they have a favorite type of treat or toy it never hurts to have an extra packed away for emergencies! There are many other items that are good to have; create your kit for your pet’s individual need and remember you can never be too prepared!

5. Know who to contact!

If a disaster hits while you are at work or away from your home, it is a great idea to discuss a plan of action in advance with a neighbor or nearby friend or family member. Agreeing that if one of you cannot make it back home that the other will bring your pets and their emergency kit will make the situation much less hectic. Make sure to have updated stickers on your front door letting emergency personal know how many pets are in the home should they need to get in to rescue them. Keep your veterinary clinic, pet friendly hotels, and the Pet Poison Helpline numbers handy so you are prepared for any situation you may encounter.

No one likes to think a natural disaster will happen in their area but having these strategies in place will help ensure that you and your pets are prepared and able to enjoy all the wonderful activities that summer offers us!

Friday, April 22, 2022

Seasonal Flank Alopecia

Canine Recurrent Flank Alopecia 

Also Known As: Seasonal Flank Alopecia

Transmission or Cause: An incompletely understood disorder which causes seasonal hair loss on the flanks. This disorder may involve photoperiod changes in melatonin and prolactin hormone production which then affects hair follicles. 

Affected Animals: Most commonly seen in young adult bulldogs, boxers, schnauzers, and airedales. 

Clinical Signs: Non-inflammatory, not itchy hair loss in the flank area. Exposed skin may appear darkened. Hair loss usually affects both sides, but can affect only one side. Hair loss often occurs between November and March and spontaneously regrows several months later. In some dogs the amount of hair loss and the duration before regrowth may increase with each repeated episode and may become permanent. No other signs of disease are seen. 

Diagnosis: Clinical signs and breed are suggestive, but other causes of patchy hair loss include Demodectic mange, ringworm, or hormonal diseases such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease. These diseases should be ruled out by appropriate testing. 

Skin biopsy of affected areas show abnormally shaped hair follicles which are filled with keratin. Treatment: Melatonin can be helpful to prompt hair growth in some dogs and is given daily for two to three months until complete hair growth occurs. Restarting melatonin yearly, four to six weeks prior to anticipated onset of hair loss, may prevent recurrence. 

Prognosis: The prognosis for hair growth is unpredictable. Hair regrowth can be partial and the new hair may grow in a different color and/or texture. This is purely a cosmetic disorder which does not affect the dog’s quality of life.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022


Also Known As: Flea bite hypersensitivity

Transmission or Cause: When a flea sucks blood from a pet, it passes its saliva into the animal’s skin. Animals that are allergic to flea allergen will experience swelling, irritation, and itchiness. When the animal scratches the bites, further trauma to the skin lesions, hair loss, and more intense itchiness will result. A single flea bite can cause these symptoms in an allergic pet; animals without this allergy must be bitten many more times before their skin becomes irritated. Affected Animals: Any breed or sex of dog can be affected. The average age for flea allergy is three to five years. Cats also can be allergic to fleas. 

Overview: Animals that have flea allergy dermatitis are hypersensitive to the saliva a flea passes into the skin when it bites. The bite from a single flea will have a minimal affect on a normal animal, but animals with flea allergy will experience immediate itching, redness and swelling. It is the animals themselves, and not the fleas, that typically do the worst damage. When an animal scratches its fleabites excessively, hair loss and skin abrasions can result. Some animals will develop circular, red, painful sores called hot spots that can occur anywhere on the skin, but commonly are seen along the back and tail base. The most common allergic skin disorder, flea allergy only can be resolved by preventing the animal from being bitten by the flea and removing all the fleas from the animal’s environment. There are medications available, however, that will alleviate the itching and discomfort until complete flea control is achieved. 

Symptoms: Common findings in an animal that is allergic to fleas include increased scratching or itchiness, loss of hair, hairs that appear broken, crusts and erosions of the skin, and pimple-like bumps. Thickened skin with darkened areas can be seen in severe cases. Fleas or flea feces, which can be difficult to detect, indicate the presence of fleas. Hot spots sometimes can be seen along the dog’s back and tail base. These sores are usually circular, red, oozing, and very painful, often requiring medical attention.

Description: Flea allergy is the most common allergic skin disorder, affecting animals with an abnormal sensitivity to the saliva a flea injects into the skin when it takes a blood meal. In reaction to flea allergen, allergic animals will have inflammation and irritation of their skin, not to mention intense itchiness. Hair loss and skin lesions can result when an animal scratches or bites its irritated skin. The problem may last year-round in warm climates or in flea-infested indoor environments. In regions with cold winters, the allergy will appear seasonally during the warm months of the year. Treatment of flea allergy requires eliminating the fleas from the animal, other pets, and the surroundings. Various medications can provide temporary relief of itching for severely affected animals until flea control is achieved. It may be difficult to detect fleas on a pet, but brushing it over a white sheet may help: flea feces, a dark, black material, that falls from the animal’s hair onto the sheet would suggest the presence of fleas. A flea comb also can be used to look for the feces or the fleas themselves. Pets should be examined often if itching is noted. 

Diagnosis: The symptoms of flea allergy can mimic other disorders of the skin. Before concluding that an animal is allergic to fleas, the examining veterinarian first will attempt to rule out allergies to food and inhalants, internal parasites, drug reactions, hair follicle inflammation (folliculitis), fungal infection, and other topical parasites, all of which may have signs similar to an allergic reaction to fleas. A thorough history and physical exam will be required, during which the veterinarian will analyze the type and size of the skin lesions. It is often very beneficial for pets with suspected allergies to be tested for allergens that may be causing the animal to be itchy and uncomfortable. There are two common techniques that veterinarians can use to determine any underlying allergies to allergens such as fleas. One technique is called intradermal skin testing which requires the injection of different allergens into the skin. This usually is done by a veterinary dermatologist and may require sedation. The second technique involves taking a blood sample and sending it to a laboratory for allergy testing. This is called serologic allergy testing. There are varying opinions about serologic testing, so consultation with the examining veterinarian will be necessary. 

Prognosis: An animal with flea allergy dermatitis will always remain allergic to fleas. The severity of this allergy typically worsens as the pet ages. If fleas are eliminated from the animal’s environment, the pet will stop suffering the symptoms of flea allergy. If the response is incomplete but flea control has been achieved, the animal should be reevaluated by the veterinarian for concurrent allergies.

Treatment: The goals of treatment are to alleviate the animal’s allergic reaction to fleas by preventing the flea from biting the animal and eliminating the fleas from the environment. It is very important that owners completely remove the fleas and their eggs from the animal’s environment. This involves the treatment of all household animals for fleas to prevent the allergic pet from becoming reinfested. There are many commercially available products that kill fleas both indoors and outdoors. Additional products have been designed for use on the animal. Professional pest extermination companies, which usually carry a satisfaction guarantee, are also an option. A veterinarian can customize a flea control program to meet an allergic pet’s individual needs. Therapy for the allergic reaction is based on the severity and history of the symptoms. Following an evaluation of the dog, the veterinarian may prescribe any of the following medications: topical treatments, medicated shampoos, steroids, antihistamines, antibiotics, and fatty acid supplements such as skin oil replacement. The examining veterinarian often will recommend a commercially available product that kills fleas on contact, before they have a chance to bite. These products are ideal in helping prevent further flea allergic reactions. The effectiveness of allergy shots, or hyposensitization, for treating flea bite hypersensitivity remains controversial. This method of treatment, prescribed by a veterinary dermatologist, usually is reserved as a final therapeutic step for severely afflicted animals not responding to strict flea control. 

Prevention: Prevent fleas from entering the household. If evidence of fleas is noted on the dog or on any other pets in the household, early intervention can stop the problem before the symptoms become severe.