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Allergy / Dermatology FAQ’s

Why should my pet see a specialist?
Board Certified Veterinary Dermatologists are similar to their human counterparts.  They have completed an internship or practice equivalent and residency (an additional 2 to 4 years of intense training) over and above their Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine.  After their residency, Board Certified Veterinary Dermatologists have a daylong intense professional examination that they must pass in order to become a diplomate.

In order to pass this examination, the specialist must be proficient and knowledgeable in the normal and abnormal anatomy, immunology, physiology, and histopathology of the skin.  A Board Certified Dermatologist has special training in the treatment and management of allergies, hair loss, endocrinopathies, immune disorders, infections and growths on the skin.  A wide variety of species are studied during the dermatology residency (i.e. dogs, cats, horses, farm animals, small exotic animals, zoo animals, birds, reptiles, some human diseases). Therefore, if your pet is suffering from allergies or a skin condition, a Board Certified Veterinary Dermatologist like Dr. Rees has the extra training to help you and your pet.

When should I request a referral to a specialist?
If the dermatologic condition or allergies have been going on for more than 3 months without the problem being controlled or resolved, then an appointment with a Board Certified Veterinary Dermatologist would be advisable.

What if my dog has a food allergy?
If you suspect your dog has a food allergy, a formal food trial using hypoallergenic food (home cooked or prescription) should be performed for 8 weeks.

What if my cat has a food allergy?
If you suspect your cat has a food allergy, a formal food trial using hypoallergenic food (home cooked or prescription) should be performed for 8 weeks.

What if my pet is allergic to fleas?
Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common allergy in dogs and cats. This type of allergy is thought to be a hypersensitivity reaction to allergens in the flea saliva. In severely allergic animals, your pet can still be reacting to a flea bite which occurred 14 days ago. Therefore, one flea bite every 1- to 14 days may be sufficient to keep the allergic reaction going. For more detailed information about flea allergy and flea control » CLICK HERE

What is house dust and house dust mite allergies?
House dust is a combination of several substance found within the home. Common house dust mite substances are mites, cockroach waste, molds and pet or human dander. The most common substance that causes allergies in pets and humans is the mite. However, one or more of these substance can cause an allergic reaction. For more detailed information about house dust and house dust mites
» CLICK HERE

What if my pet has been diagnosed with an autoimmune skin disease?
Several different autoimmune skin diseases exist in humans and in animals. The treatment and prognosis will vary depending on which autoimmune disease is present. For more detailed information about autoimmune skin disease » CLICK HERE

What is Atopic Dermatitis (Atopy) in animals?
Atopic dermatitis is a hereditary, pruritic (itchy) skin disease of animals. The disease is caused by an allergic reaction to the inhalation or percutaneous absorption of pollens, molds spores, dust, or epidermals (animal dander, feathers, wool, etc.). These antigens when picked up by the body’s immune system are recognized as foreign and immune systems tries to rid the body of them resulting in an inflammatory reaction. In humans and cats it is more common for the allergic reaction to cause respiratory symptoms, therefore, we see “hay fever” or “asthma” in those species. For more detailed information about atopic dermatitis » CLICK HERE

What if my pet develops demodectic mange?
Demodetic mange is an inflammatory, parasitic, non-contagious skin disease of dogs and cats. Demodicosis occurs when large numbers of the microscopic mite demodex canis inhabit hair follicles, causing inflammation and hair loss. Demodex mites normally live in the skin in dogs in small numbers and do not cause any problems. For more detailed information about demodectic mange » CLICK HERE

What if my pet has scabies (sarcoptic mange)?
Sarcoptic mange is caused by the microscopic mite, Sarcoptes scabies that lives in the environment. Mites burrow and lay eggs in the top layers of skin. The mites cause an allergic reaction in the skin that leads to extreme, constant year-round itching in your pet and hair loss with secondary infection is common. Dogs can pick up the infection from other dogs or from areas where infected dogs have been present. For more detailed information about scabies (saroptic mange) » CLICK HERE

What if my dog has been diagnosed with Canine Cushing’s disease?
Your dog has been diagnosed with pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism or Canine Cushing’s disease. This disease is caused by excessive amounts of glucocorticoids circulating in your dog’s system, due to excess secretion of a hormone by the pituitary gland, a small gland at the base of the brain responsible for many types of hormone productions. For more detailed information about Canine Cushing’s disease » CLICK HERE

How do I clean my pet’s ears?
In order to effectively clean your pet’s ears, you need to open the ear canal. This can be done by grasping the tip of the ear and gently pulling it straight up and slightly away from the head (towards the ground). For more detailed information about cleaning your pet’s ears and medication application » CLICK HERE

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