- What is a veterinary
- How do I schedule an
- What happens during the
- What should I bring to the
- What types of payment do you
- How much does an appointment
- Can dogs and cats get allergies?
- What types of allergies do dogs and cats
- Isn't it normal for dogs and cats to itch?
- What is allergy skin testing?
- What is blood (serum) allergy testing?
- How long does it take for my pet to improve
on allergy injections (immunotherapy)?
The American College of Veterinary Dermatology (ACVD) is
an organization of veterinarians certified in veterinary dermatology. To
be certified as a veterinary dermatologist, a veterinarian must complete at
least 2 years of postgraduate residency training, publish original research in
scientific journals, and demonstrate superior case management through submission
of case reports. The final step in certification is a comprehensive two
day examination administered by the American College of Veterinary Dermatology.
Dermatologist must receive continuing education on a regular basis to maintain
their certification status.
Please call 239-948-9434 to speak with one of our
staff members. Dr. Burkett sees appointments Monday, Tuesday, Thursday,
and Friday between 9 am and 5 pm.
During the initial consultation, the dermatologist will
review your pet's medical history. Some of the history will be supplied by
you on our dermatological history form. A thorough history is especially
crucial in understanding dermatological problems. Next, a physical and
dermatological exam is performed. Typically, some minor tests are
performed at this time, which include skin scrapings and skin/ear cytology.
Using this information, the dermatologist will form a working diagnosis and make
recommendations for further testing, if necessary, and treatment. An
initial visit in our office routinely takes at least an hour.
- Please have your pet's medical record faxed to us
prior to the appointment at 239-948-9760
- Please download , complete, and bring the new
information form and the
dermatological history form by
clicking on the highlighted links.
You will need a pdf reader to be able to access these. If you do not have
one then download it free from here:
pdf reader. If you choose to fill out this information in our office, please arrive 15
minutes prior to your scheduled appointment.
- Please bring all treatments (oral medication, ear
medication, ear flush, shampoos, etc) your pet is currently receiving.
- Personal Check (with photo ID)
- American Express
Initial consultations with basic dermatological procedures
(cytology and skin scrapings) cost approximately $200. Estimates are
provided after the exam and prior to other procedures. This cost does not
include medications and other treatments.
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Dogs and cats can develop allergies just like humans.
In Florida, allergies are very common due to our climate. Animals
typically show allergic signs in their skin and ears. Itching, scratching,
and recurrent ear and/or skin infections are the most common symptoms of
allergies. Skin infections cause odor, scabs, hair loss and thickening of
the skin. Ear infections cause discharge and itching, and in severe cases
cause pain and loss of hearing. A pet with allergies will experience more
itching when affected by a secondary infection. Allergies in pets tend to
worsen as they get older, and symptomatic treatment tends to become less
effective. Allergies are the most common problem that a veterinary
dermatologist treats. Allergies are not cured, they are managed. A
dermatologist is especially knowledgeable about the treatment options that are
available to your pet.
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All dogs and cats will have some itching from time to
time. Animals with allergies usually direct their itching to particular
areas of the body. Signs of itching include licking, chewing, biting,
rubbing, scratching, and in the case of cats, overgrooming. Many pets are
itchier at night because they are less distracted. If you feel that
itching is affecting your pet's quality of life or your quality of life (you are
not sleeping due to the itching), then this is a problem that should be
addressed. It is not normal for there to be odor, scabs, bumps, or
excessive hairloss on your pet.
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What is allergy skin testing?
Allergy skin testing is a procedure that aids in selecting
specific allergens for immunotherapy (allergen specific allergy shots,
hyposensitization, desensitization). Veterinary skin testing is similar to
human allergy skin testing. Under sedation, the hair is clipped on the
side of the body, and a series of injections are given within the skin. A
panel of pollens, molds, insects, dander, mites and other environmental
allergens are compared to negative and positive controls, and the reactions are
graded. These reactions are used to formulate an allergy vaccine specific
for that individual pet. This test takes about 30 minutes, and the pet is
given another injection to counteract the sedative. Allergen specific
injections are the best long term management for environmental allergies.
Skin testing for food allergies in dogs and cats is not accurate.
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This test involves drawing a blood sample and sending to a
laboratory for evaluation for environmental allergies. Although
technically this is much easier to perform, most dermatologists feel that the
results of blood allergy testing are less accurate than allergy skin testing.
This test is usually reserved for those cases in which it is not possible to
perform an allergy skin test. This situation occurs when sedation or drug
withdrawal is not possible. Occasionally, both skin testing and blood
testing will be recommended to more accurately assess an individual patient.
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Most pets will show some improvement in the first 6-9
months of immunotherapy, but some require up to a year to see improvement.
Approximately 70% of pets with environmental allergies will improve with
immunotherapy, but these responses do vary. Almost all patients will
require symptomatic treatment to help with their allergies while waiting for
immunotherapy to take effect. Of the patients that respond to
immunotherapy, one third will respond well enough that other treatments are
greatly reduced or eliminated, one third will respond moderately well and only
require other treatments at certain times of the year, and one third will
respond, yet still require other treatments. In these pets, the goal is to
use safer symptomatic treatment (i.e. reduce or eliminate the use of steroids)
or reduce the dosage of other treatments or need to use them less frequently.
Patients receiving immunotherapy need to be rechecked
periodically. Secondary infections can still develop and must be treated.
These infections can make it appear that the immunotherapy is not working, if
the pet is itching due to the infection. Also, periodic consultations
allow us to tailor your pet's immunotherapy for maximum benefit.
Sometimes, this requires some trial and error, to see what works best in an
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