Animal Allergies and Skin Problems
Dermatologic (skin) disorders are the most common medical conditions that dog and cat owners seek veterinary care for. Skin allergies and ear infections (otitis externa) are at the top of the list of most common ailments we treat in our canine patients at the Animal Clinic of Billings. Both skin and ear problems can cause severe discomfort in cats and dogs alike.
At the Animal Clinic of Billings, our veterinarians have years of experience in diagnosing and treating various skin and ear conditions. Along with addressing the immediate dermatologic problem, we can also provide your pet with a treatment plan for long-term management of chronic skin and ear diseases. The treatment plan is tailored to each pet’s condition to ensure that every pet receives the best possible care.
A typical dermatology visit consists of obtaining the pet’s history and performing a thorough examination of the skin and/or ears. After the examination, your doctor will recommend diagnostic tests such as:
- Food allergy trials
- Skin scrapes
- Skin cytology
- Skin cultures
- Skin biopsies
Once a diagnosis of the specific skin condition is made, we offer a treatment plan for your pet. Treatment options include: oral medications, supplements, medicated shampoos and other topical medications. We carry a wide variety of these products for your convenience. Sometimes changing a pet’s diet will resolve skin and ear problems as well.
MOST COMMON SKIN PROBLEMS IN CATS AND DOGS
Dermatitis is one of the most common skin conditions that we encounter here at the Animal Clinic of Billings. This disease involves inflammation of the skin and is typically associated with allergies, but there are other causes as well. Below are the most common causes of dermatitis in pets that we treat:
- Pyoderma (bacterial infections)
- Pachydermatitis (yeast infection)
- Immune-mediated skin disease
- External parasites (fleas, ticks, and mites)
- Lick granulomas
- Hot spots
- Skin tumors
SYMPTOMS OF CAT AND DOG SKIN PROBLEMS
- Red spots, sores, or scabs
- Dandruff/flaky skin
- Bald patches/hair loss
- Abnormal odor from skin or ears
- Scratching/pawing at ears
- Head shaking
- Tilting head to one side
- Holding an ear lower than the other
- Dry or oily skin
- Constant licking of paws
IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR PET HAS A SKIN PROBLEM
We recommend an examination if you notice any of these symptoms listed above in your cat or dog. Just as you can get a skin rash or an ear infection, your pets can too! However, because they are completely covered in hair, many skin problems often go unnoticed simply because we are rarely able to see the inflamed area until considerable damage has occurred. That’s why it’s so important to watch for tell-tale signs that your cat or dog is experiencing skin or inner ear discomfort. Since your dog or cat relies on you for their care, it is ultimately up to you to identify that something is wrong and that they need to see a veterinarian.
Unfortunately, your pet won’t understand their own discomfort if they are in-fact suffering from skin problems, which means they will itch, lick, or nibble the infected area until they can’t anymore. The more time your pet is allowed to do this, the longer it gives them the opportunity to make it much worse. In fact, if you do not seek treatment for your pet, scratching or biting at the infection or irritation could break their skin and create a secondary infection, essentially creating more issues that you will eventually have to treat. For these reasons, be on the lookout for any signs that your dog or cat seems unusually itchy or irritated by their skin or ears and contact us immediately if you feel that something is wrong.
The Animal Clinic of Billings also offers medicated baths and skin treatments for various skin conditions. To make an appointment with one of our doctors or to inquire about our medicated baths, please call us at 406-252-9499.
Our Dermatology Services:
- Allergy testing
- Allergen Specific Immunotherapy (injectable allergy shots and/or oral drops)
- Infection management for skin and ears
- CT scans
- Video otoscopy and deep ear flush
- Local anesthesia for most biopsies and mass removals
- Medical bathing
- Management of hormonal and autoimmune diseases, which affect the skin and ears
ALLERGY TESTING AND TREATMENT
Our first step in identifying anything starts with a simple exam room visit. Then if one of our veterinarians believes your dog or cat is suffering from a potential skin or ear infection we go from there. Treatment is relatively simple and only requires a few short tests to identify an infection. After performing a few tests, such as an allergy test, one of our veterinarians will be able to confirm if the infection is the result of an allergy your pet is having, and specifically, what your pet is reacting to. Also, tests will be able to notify you and your vet if there is an underlying infection or any rare skin or ear conditions. This will determine the length of the treatment and the seriousness of the issue.
At the Animal Clinic of Billings, we offer serum antibody allergy testing. This blood test checks for food, environmental and inhalant allergies specific to your pet’s home zip code. It is a minimally-invasive way to determine why your allergic pet may be so uncomfortable. Test results include food recommendations and can be used to prepare a customized treatment protocol for injections that can be administered either in our facility or in the comfort of your home.
Let our highly trained and experienced team of veterinarians and veterinary technicians help you keep your pet as happy and healthy as they can be.
Call the Animal Clinic of Billings to schedule your pets next wellness examination with us today!
MORE VETERINARY SERVICES
- 24 HOUR EMERGENCY CLINIC
- ANNUAL WELLNESS EXAMS
- BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION
- DIET AND WEIGHT LOSS
- DISCOUNTED SPAY AND NEUTER
- GROOMING AND BOARDING
- HEALTH & TRAVEL CERTIFICATES
- MICROCHIP IMPLANTS & ID TAGS
- ORTHOPEDIC SURGERY
- PAIN MANAGEMENT
- PHYSICAL REHAB
- RUPTURED JOINTS & LIGAMENTS
ANIMAL CLINIC OF BILLINGS AND ANIMAL SURGERY CLINIC
providing our region’s companion animals and their families what they need and deserve since 1981
1414 10th St. West, Billings MT 59102