Pet Dermatology Services and Specialty Care in West LA
Serving the communities of West LA, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, and West Hollywood. Our dermatology-only clinic is equipped with state-of-the-art medical technology and an expert team to ensure excellence in service. We strive to provide world-class care to pets that have skin, ear, and allergy problems and ultimately improve their quality of life.
At Veterinary Skin & Ear, we’re here for you and your pets when you need us most. We provide diagnosis and treatment for allergy; immune-mediated diseases; ear diseases; bacterial skin infections; hair loss disorders; dermatophyte (ringworm); fungal infections; yeast infections; nail diseases; viral-induced skin lesion (papilloma, herpes); hormonal diseases affecting the skin (Cushing’s, hypothyroid, sex hormones); skin growths and cancers; nutritional disorders of skin and ears; keratinization disorders (diseases that affect the normal physiology of the skin both genetic and secondary conditions); drug reactions affecting skin; and ear, nail and hair diseases.
If your pet is experiencing symptoms related to any of the above, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.
Recurrent Ear Infection Management
Video otoscopy is a unique tool of the veterinary dermatologist and otologist. This is not only a skill that must be learned but an art form that must be practiced over multiple years of training. Video otoscopy allows enhanced imaging and deep cleaning of the affected ears by using a small camera that is placed into the ear canal. Enhanced visualization of the ear canals and affected tissue assists in treatment of infections, evaluation of the tympanic membrane (ear drum), and may allow early detection of tumors or other anatomical causes of recurrent ear infections. It also allows for the removal of foreign material, mass removal, biopsy, and myringotomy.
Allergies are a common source of discomfort for your pet’s skin and ears. Using our expertise, advanced tools, and years of training, we help identify the root cause of your pet’s allergies. Potential triggers include environmental allergies like human dander, dust mites, tree, food allergy, parasite allergy (flea or mosquito), drugs, topical products, and grass and weed pollen. Identifying these allergic triggers will help us pinpoint the source of your pet’s discomfort and come up with a treatment plan specific to your pet. We will work with you to develop a tailored treatment plan for your pet based on lifestyle, health, and preferences.
Allergy Testing and Immunotherapy
Atopic dermatitis (environmental allergies) is a lifelong genetic disease that leads to recurrent bouts of itching, licking, inflammation, and infections of the skin and/or ears. Allergy-specific immunotherapy is an effective way to diminish or resolve the hyperactive immune reaction your pet is experiencing. The goal of immunotherapy is to allow your pet’s immune system to build a tolerance to their specific allergens. Immunotherapy is custom-made for each individual pet and is the safest long-term treatment for environmental allergies. With time, it can even lead to a cure in select cases. Immunotherapy is delivered either under the skin, in the mouth, or in the lymph nodes. While this treatment does not provide an overnight cure, it can provide the majority of pets significant relief from their allergies over time. All other treatment options (Cytopoint [CADI], Apoquel, Steroids, Atopica) are used to block the symptoms of environmental allergies and can be thought of as short-acting band-aids.
At Veterinary Skin & Ear, we offer intradermal allergy skin testing, which measures skin inflammatory reactions to the common environmental allergens, as well as serum IgE levels, which measures the amount of immunoglobulin present versus an allergen in your pet’s system.
Autoimmune Skin Disease Diagnosis and Management
Perhaps the most important and urgent reason to seek consultation with a board-certified veterinary dermatologist is due to the severity of autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. There are a number of autoimmune diseases that can affect the skin of dogs and cats, including pemphigus foliaceous, pemphigus erythematous, mucous membrane pemphigoid, discoid, erythema multiforme, vasculitis, ischemic dermatopathy, cutaneous and systemic lupus, and many others. Accurate and rapid diagnosis of these conditions is essential for creating an effective treatment plan. Failure to do so can lead to severe suffering, difficulty reaching disease remission, and even death. Most autoimmune diseases require lifelong therapy; finding the safest treatment, while minimizing side effects, is essential to maintaining a good quality of life for the patient affected by these diseases.
Bacterial Infection Management
Bacterial skin infections, most specifically Staphylococcus, are very common in the dog and cat. Most bacterial skin infections are actually caused by another underlying disease. Symptoms of bacterial infection include itching, licking, pimples, pus-filled lesions, crusts, hair loss, odor, and redness. There are a rising number of resistant strains of bacteria, and veterinary dermatologists are uniquely qualified to treat these infections. We take the time to examine samples using a high-powered microscope and, when needed, also submit swab or deep tissue samples to specialized laboratories to help determine the optimal treatment. Treatment of bacterial infection requires the appropriate knowledge and use of antibiotics (type, known side effects, and treatment length), topical therapies, and identification and treatment of the underlying cause for the infection.
Fungal Infection Management
There are many types of fungal infections that can affect our pets. The most common types are superficial fungal infections, such as yeast overgrowth or ringworm (Microsporum and Trichophyton). These infections are treatable with proper medication and topical therapies. Deeper fungal infections can also occur, and treatment can span months or years in severe cases.
Parasitic Disease Management
Our advanced training and experience lead to the early detection of external parasites on the skin. In some cases, parasites are contagious to other pets or people; in others, they are not. Knowing where and how to take a sample (skin scrape or hair pluck) can make the difference between finding or not finding these microscopic parasites. With detailed knowledge of both parasites and the pharmaceuticals available, we can provide the best treatment option for your pet.
We offer carbon dioxide (CO2) surgical laser, which may be used to excise or ablate sun-induced actinic dermatitis, sun-induced tumors (hemangiomas, hemangiosarcoma, squamous cell carcinomas), sebaceous growths, viral papillomas, viral plaques, feline Bowenoid in situ carcinoma, redundant skin folds, eyelid masses, feline ceruminous cystomatosis, ear tumors, and follicular and cutaneous masses and cysts. The advantages of laser surgery include pinpoint precision, minimal bleeding, less pain, less swelling, less time under anesthesia, and less infection risk.
Many skin diseases require a tissue sample (biopsy) to be examined by a dermatopathologist. We work closely with dermatopathologists to arrive at a diagnosis. Due to years of training in dermatopathology to gain proficiency during a residency, a veterinary dermatologist can use histopathologic findings in rare and unique conditions to come up with a treatment plan where a veterinarian without training may be lost. Some skin biopsies can be taken with local anesthetic alone; others may require sedation or anesthesia. In most cases, we can use a biopsy punch instrument that takes a small sample (4-8mm) and only requires a couple of stitches at each site.
Selecting the correct biopsy site is crucial to obtaining the correct diagnosis. There are many subtle cutaneous differences that a veterinary dermatologist has been trained to detect.
Trichography (Hair Evaluation)
The plucking of hair from the skin and examining the hair under light microscopy is referred to as trichography. Trichography is a useful diagnostic aid to evaluate hair shaft morphology and can be helpful in the diagnosis of some genetic alopecic, hormonal, parasitic, fungal, and other infectious skin diseases.