Dermatology is the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the skin, including ear disease. Many conditions can look the same, making diagnosis challenging. Often several tests are required to obtain a diagnosis and specialised equipment may be required.
Although all vets can assess and treat dermatological conditions, more complex conditions are preferably managed by vets with a higher level of training. This may be a vet with a particular interest in dermatology, a vet who has undertaken a certificate in dermatology (often gaining Advanced Practitioner status), or a recognised specialist.
Conditions and procedures commonly seen by advanced dermatologists include:
- Allergies, including serology or intradermal allergy testing
- Auto-immune disease
- Infectious agent testing (e.g. skin scraping, hair pluck, cytology, trichography examination)
- Management of multi-resistant bacterial infection
- Investigation of hair loss (alopecia)
- Diagnosis and management of chronic ear disease (including video otoscopy)
Many skin diseases are caused by, or related to, problems elsewhere in the body. Commonly, dermatology services are combined with medical and/or surgical services to ensure a complete approach to problems.