Donkey Patient Successfully Responds to Allergy Injections

       The patients at Animal Dermatology Clinic are primarily dogs and cats. But throughout the years, doctors have treated a variety of other animals including goats, hippos, hamsters and of course, horses. Our latest “exotic” pet patient is a donkey!
       Dr. Chris Reeder of the Louisville, KY clinic was called to see “Vail”, whose owners were concerned about the loss of hair on Vail’s rump. The hair loss was isolated to this particular area, so what would cause it to fall out? (Photo above, left)  Dr. Reeder conducted an examination of Vail to determine the cause of her condition. Based on his evaluation of history and clinical findings, he was mostly concerned that this was an allergic patient and exhibiting typical allergic signs. He performed an intradermal skin test for Vail and it revealed that Vail was allergic to deer fly, black ant, house fly, moth, mouse, timothy, alfalfa, box elder, western oak and, pigweed to name a few. In other words, just about anything that your normal everyday donkey in Kentucky would encounter outdoors, Vail was allergic to!
       Dr. Reeder looked about the property and found a tree with Vail’s hair embedded in the bark (photo, upper right. Note tuft of hair on ground) and at the level at which was the same height as Vail’s rear. She was itchy and found a way to scratch the itch! Her continued rubbing on the tree ultimately caused the hair loss. Anyone who has ever experienced the frustration of having an itch on that part of your back that you cannot reach can understand Vail’s misery.
      Her continued scratching would have led to breaking the skin and that could have led to the potential of infections and an additional course of treatment.
      Immunotherapy are allergy injections that are a long-term treatment that creates a “tolerant” effect on the immune system to allow pets to develop little or no symptoms of its allergies. Each pet has custom-formulated injections based on the allergy test performed. Vail found success within months of beginning her immunotherapy treatment, although results may vary for other animals. Each patient is unique and the patient management of the patient by the veterinary dermatologist is critical in making adjustments to the treatment.
      One year later (photo above, right), her coat has restored and her allergic symptoms have abated. Immunotherapy is usually life-long, but no doubt Vail’s owners are happy to give her an injection knowing that it keeps her itch-free and comfortable without that embarrassing bald spot.
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ADC Doctor Achieves Diplomate Status

      Dr. Darin Dell successfully passed his board examinations last month and is now a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Dermatology.
      There are fewer than 300 boarded veterinary dermatologists in the United States and Dr. Dell now brings the number of boarded dermatologists to 17 for Animal Dermatology Clinic.
      He graduated from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and completed his dermatology residency under the mentorship of Dr. Lori Thompson in Indianapolis, IN.
      The residency program in veterinary dermatology is a rigorous three years of study including the requirement of a successful case study project accepted and published by a scientific or medical magazine or journal.
Dr. Dell sees cases in Indianapolis and at their new satellite location in Fort Wayne, IN.

Opinion: It’s True! I Read
It on the Internet

      This newsletter has sought to reveal some of the myths and unfounded treatments for allergic pets that are prevalent on the internet.
      As the Marketing Director for Animal Dermatology Clinic, I find interesting to read what pet owners and some businesses discuss in treating an allergic pet. Sadly, many pet owners believe that because they read it on the internet, then it must be true.
      Google has a great feature that whenever a selected word or phrase appears anywhere in the internet (“itchy dog”, in this case), a link to the site is provided to me.
A recent link that was sent to me is an internet business selling remedies for pet ailments which included a guideline in the steps to treating an allergic pet. From their website:

“…Some dog allergies will require the expertise of a veterinarian and possibly a dermatologist also if your vet determines that your dog is not responding to any treatments. It is not easy to find a dermatologist who will also treat animals, so be sure your veterinarian recommends a doctor who will see your pet either at the vet’s office or in your home. For health reasons, many doctors will not allow pets in their offices.”

The recommendation of seeing a veterinarian is encouraging. Mentioning a dermatologist for an allergic dog? Awesome! But reading a little closer the article states that “it is not easy to find a dermatologist who will also treat animals…”   What?  This article is asking that you seek out a medical doctor specializing in treating people to also examine your allergic dog.
      A dermatologist and veterinary dermatologist are skilled professionals that have completely separate areas of responsibility: people vs animals. Further, it would be unethical and unlawful for any human dermatologist to examine a pet under the guise of veterinary treatment, unless of course that doctor was actively licensed for both of those professions.
      I contacted this “business” many months ago about the erroneous information that was posted and it is still active on their site today. It’s hard to imagine that pet owners would attempt to take their allergic dog to their dermatologist who treated their son for acne: “He did a good job on Junior, maybe he can fix Fido.” It’s equally hard to imagine that a human dermatologist would violate the Veterinary Practice Act of their state in attempting to do so!
      So, just because you read it on the internet…
~Don Fruta, Marketing Director

Tis’ the Season to Support a Shelter

      Each day, dogs and cats are euthanized because their “time was up” at a shelter. Responsible pet ownership and pet population control is vital to reduce and eliminate the practice of destroying unwanted and abandoned pets. Until then, it becomes a waiting game for an animal to be selected by their new person.
      Despite the eagerness of people who want pets, many will not consider a rescue.
      Page 4 of print verison of Derm Digest lists just a few of the no-kill shelters and rescues in your area that are working hard to find forever homes for unwanted or abandoned pets.
      Many shelter workers are unpaid volunteers and the organizations run on razor thin budgets so your donation to an animal shelter is always welcome. Contact a shelter to make a gift of money, supplies or your time. Should you desire a new pet, visit your local shelter and find a new cat or dog that will be forever grateful.
(Download the PDF to see page 4.  Adobe Reader required)

Previous Newsletters

As specialists, we stay current on new research and treatments and are actively involved with the research. Our dermatology practice is not limited to small animals and we often have equine and occasionally exotic patients. Learn More >