Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

A Board Certified Veterinary Dermatologist is a veterinarian who has completed extensive study and specialized training in the diagnosis and management of allergy and many other forms of skin and ear disease. After receiving a degree in veterinary medicine, veterinary dermatologists complete an internship and then a 3-year residency in dermatology to become a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD). During this residency period they evaluate and manage hundreds of challenging skin and ear cases, complete an extensive study program, conduct a scientific, publishable research project and successfully pass the rigorous ACVD certification exam.

With this background and training, Board Certified Veterinary Dermatologists are extremely qualified to recognize and treat infectious skin diseases (e.g., bacterial, fungal, viral), parasitic skin diseases, alopecia (hair loss), congenital skin diseases, autoimmune skin diseases, benign and malignant skin cancer, hormone-related skin diseases, and other internal (systemic) causes for skin abnormalities. Dermatologists are also trained to treat and manage chronic infections and inflammatory conditions of the ears.

Board Certified Veterinary Dermatologists work closely with local general practice veterinarians as well as consult with veterinarians across the country to provide specialized expertise for managing challenging ear and skin disease.

The American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD) is the official specialty organization accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 1982 and charged with maintenance of high standards of postgraduate training in veterinary dermatology. The purpose of the ACVD is to advance and promote excellence in veterinary dermatology, oversee postgraduate training in veterinary dermatology, sponsor research, and organize scientific and educational programs for both veterinary dermatologists and general practitioners.

The ACVD is empowered to examine qualified candidates and confer Diplomate (board certification) status in veterinary dermatology. Board certification requires completion of a 3-year approved residency training program, an original research project, publication in a scientific journal, and successful completion of a rigorous certification examination. Currently there are about three hundred fifty ACVD board certified veterinary dermatologists worldwide who work in private specialty practices, academic positions, and industry.

Animal Dermatology Group has the distinction of being the first non-academic organization approved by the ACVD to provide a Residency Training Program and is currently the largest qualified ACVD Residency Program preparing the next generation of veterinary board certified dermatologists. ADG is very proud of this important responsibility to help shape the future thought leaders of our field.

Veterinary dermatologists are specially trained to diagnose and treat hundreds of different skin and ear diseases. After receiving their doctorate in veterinary medicine, a veterinary dermatologist completes a 1 year internship, a 3 year dermatology residency program and then must pass a rigorous board certification exam given by the American College of Veterinary Dermatology. This advanced training provides in depth knowledge that allows doctors to make more accurate diagnostic and treatment recommendations to help pet owners arrive at better solution for challenging skin and ear disease.

At your first visit one of our doctors will review the information you have provided about your pet (including answers to the questions on our client/patient form) and past medical history provided by your general practice veterinarian. The doctor will perform a thorough dermatological examination, and then discuss appropriate diagnostic tests and therapies for your pet’s skin or ear disease. Typically, a cost estimate is provided for tests and therapies recommended and any necessary procedures that may be performed.

Our goal is to arrive at a diagnostic and treatment plan that helps to define your pet’s skin or ear disease and move toward a long term solution to improve his/her quality of life.

Once an appointment has been made and confirmed, please fill out the client/patient information on our website and submit to our office. This information is very important in providing our doctors and staff with as much information as possible about your pets health so that appropriate tests and therapies can be recommended in an efficient manner. Since there are multiple Animal Dermatology Clinic offices and satellites, make sure you select the correct location.

Please do not bathe your pet for 1 week prior to the appointment if possible. Also, if you are able, do not feed him/her the morning of the visit in case sedation or anesthesia are needed for a recommended procedure.

Please bring a list of all medications you are giving and of diets you are feeding your pet. If easier, you may bring the medications themselves.

Allergy testing is performed to determine which environmental allergens are causing reactions in an individual pet. The “gold standard” for allergy testing is intradermal testing. When performing intradermal allergy testing, animals are sedated, a patch of hair is clipped and numerous allergens are injected in rows into the surface layers of the skin. Positive results become apparent when there is redness or swelling at the site of a particular allergen. Results are typically observed and recorded 15 to 30 minutes after the injections are completed. When necessary, a blood allergy test may be performed in addition or instead of the intradermal test in order to provide additional information.

The purpose of allergy testing is to provide a list of relevant allergens for a pet that is then used to formulate immunotherapy (an allergy vaccine). This immunotherapy is then administered over time at home to try to de-sensitize the pet to his/her allergy triggers. For more information on allergy testing click here.

Some medications interfere with intradermal allergy testing making results either inapparent or not as strong as they would be. Medications that may interfere include:

  • Antihistamines (Benadyrl, Zyrtec, Chlorpheniramine, Claritin)
  • Cortisone (prednisone, DepoMedrol injections, Vetalog, Kenalog, topical cortisone sprays)
  • SOME topical ear and eye medications

Medications that do NOT interfere include:

  • Apoquel
  • Cytopoint
  • Atopica (cyclosporine)
  • Antibiotics
  • Antifungals

Absolutely. Our doctors can often find alternative methods to keep your pet comfortable while also allowing them to discontinue medications that interfere with allergy testing or other recommended procedures. This can often prevent your pet from being miserable while waiting to be tested.

There is no useful blood or skin test for food allergy. However, with proper guidance and recommendations, food allergy can be accurately diagnosed. It is important to do this under the guidance and supervision of a veterinary dermatologist in order to avoid common pitfalls and misdirection. For more information on food allergy click here.