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Dermatology for Pets
Our animal vet clinic in Anaheim offers a full range of services for various types of pets, including exotics and pocket pets. A particular focus of our veterinarian, Dr. Van Steed and associates, are treating pet dermatology. As a special field of veterinary medicine, dermatology focuses on the disorders and issues of a pet's skin.
Many skin problems can be prevented with regular grooming care and proper diet, which we will gladly teach you. There are, of course, some skin problems that occur despite these measures. In either case, pet dermatological issues should be treated immediately. It's more than a matter of your pet's comfort, it's also a matter of their health, even their life in some cases.
Dermatological problems break down into six main groups: skin infections, ear infections, ectoparasites, allergic dermatitis, heat rashes, and immune-mediated/autoimmune dermatoses. The challenge in dermatology is primarily in the diagnosis stage. Veterinary practitioners that do not take a particular interest in this field run a risk of misdiagnosing a skin problem and will usually make a referral. Dr. Steed and his associate's invaluable knowledge in this branch of veterinary medicine ensures a proper diagnosis and course of treatment.
Skin infections include all skin diseases that are not heat related, ectoparasitic, allergic or autoimmune in nature. They are bacterial or fungal, and can either be a primary form of infection, or secondary to one of the other types of infection. Included primarily are bacterial pyodermas and fungal ringworms. Both infections are treated at our animal hospital with specialized shampoos and in extreme cases may be backed up by systemic support such as antibiotics. While the difference between the two infections is immediately apparent, it is worth mentioning that the shampoo for one infection should never be used to treat the other.
Ear infections can be caused by a wide variety of anatomical, allergen, parasitic and obstructive causes. The secondary causes are either bacterial or fungal. At our animal vet clinic in Anaheim, we follow a two-step procedure to cure ear infections. First, we have to get the infection under control, then we have to find and eliminate the cause of the infection. Depending on the severity of your pet's case, this could require several visits until the cause can be determined and removed.
Ectoparasites include skin problems caused by fleas, mites, ticks, mosquitos and other biting parasites. In particular cases, when your pet is allergic to a parasite, ectoparasitic infections can cross over into allergic dermatitis problems. Depending on the parasite in question, these problems can be easy or difficult to diagnose and treat. Treatment is usually accomplished by dips, shampoos or baths and preventative repellants.
Allergic Dermatitis is notoriously hard to diagnose. If a general veterinarian cannot make a referral to a more knowledgeable vet, the course of treatment can often be a trial and error process. In order to properly treat these problems, the veterinarians at our animal hospital has to diagnose what specifically your pet is allergic to--it could be anything from fleas, environmental factors, to its food. Only then can he prescribe the proper treatments or dietary changes.
Heat Rashes appear as red bumps on your pet. They will normally correct themselves after a couple of days. In the meantime, treatment involves soothing ointments to relieve itching. We will also try to determine the conditions that caused the heat rash in order to prevent it in the future.
Immune-mediated or Autoimmune Dermatosis are dermatology disorders are essentially caused by the pet's natural defense mechanism mistaking normal tissue for foreign tissue. In short, the pet's defense attacks itself. The two most common autoimmune dermatoses are discoid lupus erythematosus (DLE) and pemphigus foliaceus (PF). DLE is characterized by nose depigmentation, swelling and smoothing of the texture, and it's sun-aggravated. Usually, it is not a serious veterinary problem, but sometimes it can cause cracking and bleeding. In more severe cases, topical or oral steroids may be used to keep the symptoms down. PF is a much more serious problem. Lesions and crusting can form, footpads can crack and your poor furry kid is in complete misery. Diagnosis of this problem has to be made carefully, since the only course of treatment is immunosuppression. Your pet's immune system has to be kept at a careful balance where the PF doesn't act up, but not leaving your pet open to illness.
Here at our Anaheim animal vet clinic, Dr. Steed and his associates are dedicated to treating all manner of skin disorders in your pets. Contact us at 714-535-6791 to have your pet evaluated and treated for any skin problems.