Lumps, Bumps and Allergies
Did you know that the skin is the largest organ in the body? Skin is the barrier that protects us from the outside world and helps regulate all happenings in the body. Then it becomes obvious why skin issues are the number one reason people bring their pets in to see the veterinarian. It also happens to be Dr. Mona’s favorite area of veterinary medicine- dermatology. She truly enjoys how beautifully the skin heals when given an appropriate environment to promote wellness.
Most common causes:
- Ectoparasites: fleas, less commonly mites
- Atopic Dermatitis
- Autoimmune Disease (Body has a reaction to its own proteins)
Every case is different and will receive specialized care, the following is an outline to help you understand how Dr. Mona approaches the problem of “itchy skin”.
– Year round prescription flea prevention (we do not recommend frontline for refractive cases) Fleas are super common in Seattle and are the easiest cause for itchy skin to treat, so let’s eliminate them as a problem source!
–Omega fatty acid supplements (which are available OTC at our pharmacy). They have been shown to decrease dry, itchy skin and promote a lustrous shinny coat.
–Medicated shampoos/baths: There are numerous fantastic prescription strength shampoos, conditioners, lotions and ointments available at our pharmacy. We work closely with our grooming department to provide professional medicated baths when prescribed by the doctor.
–Short term steroid and/or anti-histamine therapy; this therapy can help us provide relief for problems such as hot spots and paw licking, but if the problem returns after a short course of these medication, we have to look deeper for an underlying cause. These medications are generally not intended for long term use.
–Novel protein diets. Chicken and Beef food allergies are some of the most common we encounter on a daily bases. We have seen success with dermatologist recommended diets such as Iams Kangaroo and Oats. The body is not used to kangaroo and thus has not had the opportunity to become sensitized to this protein source; thus eliminating an allergic response.
–Apoquel: For severe cases of allergies (atopic dermatitis) un- responsive to other therapies, there is thankfully a new medication on the market that has been clinically proven to help relieve severely itchy skin and can be used long term. Read more about Aoquel here and speak with Dr. Mona if you would like to try.
Auto Immune disease is a more serious condition and thankfully less common. Skin biopsies might be required to arrive at a diagnosis.
Lump and Bumps
Finding a new lump on your pet can be very scary. We are here to determine the nature of the lump. This is accomplished by performing a painless fine needle aspirate (FNA) where a sample of cells is collected from the mass. These cells are sent to the laboratory for analysis to determine the nature of the mass. Many masses are benign; ie there is no chance of metastasis or spread to other areas in the body. These include lipomas, cysts, warts and skin tags. These types of masses are easily removed, many times requiring only light sedation and local analgesia— decreasing the price, time and risk of the procedure. Dr. Mona is very skilled in providing virtually scar less cosmetic mass removals; it is also her favorite procedure! Most masses fall under this category.
Malignant or aggressive cancerous masses may require larger skin incisions to prevent reoccurrence. After removal we recommend submitting the mass to the pathologist to confirm that all the cancer was removed. The pathologist will also give the tumor a grade, which will help us determine the likelihood of reoccurrence or spread to other parts of the body. At this point depending on the results of the biopsy, the doctor might recommend referral to the oncologist to discuss staging, radiation and/or chemotherapy.