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Specialized Testing & Procedures
Some of our specialized services include:
Skin allergies are the most common cause of skin itchiness in pets. Although people with allergies typically show respiratory symptoms (sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, etc.), most pets with allergies display skin/ear symptoms and itching. At PADS, our doctors have advanced training in testing and management of allergic skin disease in pets. The most reliable test for skin allergies in pets is an intradermal allergy test, where potential allergens (including dust mites, pollens, and molds) are injected under the skin. Allergy test results are used to formulate an allergy vaccine (allergy immunotherapy) that is specific for your pet's allergies. At PADS we have an in-house allergy lab that makes allergy testing and formulating your pet's allergy vaccine convenient and accurate.
Various skin and ear samples may be taken during your pet’s visit at PADS. These samples include skin and ear cytology, skin scrapings, and trichograms (a test that evaluates the hair). Samples are evaluated under the microscope for bacteria, yeast, parasites, and various cell types. Cytology is helpful in identifying the type and severity of infection and can also be used to help diagnose autoimmune disorders or certain forms of cancer.
Below is an example of a skin scraping from a pet with demodex mite infestation (left) and a skin cytology slide from a dog with a yeast infection (right):
Resistant skin infections are becoming more common in our pets. The dermatologist can obtain a skin culture to determine the most appropriate treatment to help resolve the infection. This test is especially useful for cases where the skin infections are not resolving with appropriate antibiotics, for severe or deep skin infections, or for patients that have been on many courses of antibiotics.
Skin biopsies are a very useful test in the diagnosis of certain skin disorders. During a skin biopsy, the dermatologist will take small pieces of the skin that are processed into thin sections and examined under the microscope. Skin biopsies are particularly useful in the diagnosis of autoimmune skin disorders and various forms of skin cancer.
Veterinary dermatologists also specialize in the management of chronic ear diseases. At PADS we have a state-of-the-art specialized video otoscope. It utilizes a highly magnified camera to examine and flush the ear canal, eardrum, and middle ear. The video otoscope is a very useful tool that allows for accurate diagnosis and treatment of chronic otitis externa and otitis media (external and middle ear infections), and in identifying abnormalities of the ear drum, infection of the middle ear, foreign bodies, and tumors/masses in the ear canal. Instruments can be inserted through the video otoscope to flush debris from the external and middle ears, perform surgeries to biopsy and help remove ear canal polyps and growths, and to remove foreign bodies from the ear.
Below are video-otoscopic pictures of a normal ear drum from a dog (left) and cat (right):
With cryosurgery, extreme cold is used to destroy abnormal or diseased tissue. It can be applied to the skin to help resolve certain types of skin lesions and growths/tumors. Usually, the tissue is treated with 3 cycles of freezing followed by thawing. Cryosurgery generally works better for smaller sized skin growths.
CO2 Laser Surgery
A surgical laser can be used to remove or ablate certain types of skin lesions and growths/tumors. It can also be used down the video-otoscope where it can aid in the treatment of certain ear canal tumors, polyps, and growths.