One of the most common reasons why people bring their pets to see the veterinarian is because the animal is suffering from
some form of skin condition. Although clients expect a "quick fix" from a pill or topical therapy, practitioners know they
have just started to scratch the surface to uncovering why the pet is constantly scratching, biting, licking and losing its
Recognizing the many number of skin diseases that affect dogs and cats can take years of practical experience and continued
education. Practitioners must gain a full understanding of the disease and its history, as well as how to identify both the
signalment and cause of the disease before developing an effective treatment protocol.
Diagnosing skin diseases can truly test your skills as a clinician. Narrowing down a specific skin disease is often a frustrating
experience for both the veterinarian and pet owner because of detailed work-up, trials, tests and therapies that are necessary
to reach a final diagnosis. In the meantime, the owner and pet are still struggling for some relief. This is when client education
and communication are paramount. Veterinarians need to immediately discuss with their clients the challenges they face when
diagnosing and managing dermatological cases. They should also take this time to stress the important role the owner plays
in their animal's recovery by complying with the treatment protocol.
With that in mind, let's test you diagnostic skills. Can you identify the skin diseases in the following photos?
AnswersPhoto 4: Golden Retriever with sebaceous adenitis.
Photo 3: A Samoyed with Alopecia X.
Photo 2: Idiopathic facial dermatitis of the Persian cat.
Photo 1: Golden Retriever mix with pemphigus foliaceus, an auto-immune disease.