Dogs, cats, exotic/wild animals
Meet our experts
The Dermatology Service at Cornell University Hospital for Animals provides the best specialty care available for pets with skin and ear conditions. We work closely with other services such as Ophthalmology, Surgery, Oncology, Neurology, Imaging and Internal Medicine to provide comprehensive care for your pet.
We offer state-of-the-art diagnostic techniques and treatments, including digital video ear examinations, intradermal and serological allergy testing, cryotherapy, and CO2 laser capability. We also read skin biopsies sent to our diagnostic lab by university hospitals and general practitioners.
- Intradermal allergy tests
- Serological allergy test
What to expect during your consultation
Your scheduled visit to the Cornell University Hospital for Animals Dermatology Service begins with check-in at the front desk. After some paperwork, one or two students who are currently in dermatology will greet you in the waiting room and take you to a private exam room.
Students will ask questions about your pet's history and perform a physical exam, an invaluable experience for their education and development. We appreciate your patience and understanding that these future vets will be able to interact with you and your pet.
Students will then go to consult with an intern, resident, or faculty member regarding medical history, physical examination, and case management recommendations. The faculty member, intern, or intern escorts the student back to her exam room to re-examine her pet. He can recommend further testing and will discuss the possible diagnosis, next steps, costs, and logistics with you.
You will often be asked to leave your pet in the care of our students so that we can initiate appropriate testing, which may include blood work or allergy testing. Given our busy schedule and consultations with other pet care professionals, you may be asked to return later to discuss our findings.
The dermatology service also frequently sees Cornell patients who are hospitalized under the care of other specialties.
Many skin conditions are chronic in nature and require a lifelong treatment plan. Our service schedules follow-up phone appointments with you or your referring vet to ensure any chronic conditions are well managed over time.
For the appointment with your pet's dermatologist
follow these instructionsExactly, or we may not be able to make the entire appointment day.
- Do not bathe your pet 7 days before your scheduled appointment.
- DO NOT give your pet food or snacks of any kind on the day of the exam, your pet can drink as much water as they want.
- Please bring the completed medical history form along with as much additional information as possible about your pet's condition. A reference letter from your vet or a copy of your pet's medical record is very helpful. In addition, New York State law requires that a valid rabies certificate be presented upon arrival at our hospital. Failure to comply may result in your pet not being evaluated.
- Write down and carry with you the names of all medications (pills, capsules, injections, shampoos, ointments, drops) your pet has been taking or has been taking in the past 30 days. For oral medications (pills or liquids taken by mouth), note:
- the size (number of milligrams) of the tablet/capsule,
- the number of pills or the amount of liquid given in each dose, and
- how many times per day the drug was/was administered.
skin testit is not usually done on the first date, especially if the date is in the afternoon. Sometimes an exception can be made and testing will be done on the day of the initial evaluation, if time and space allow and all of the following requirements for allergy testing are met:
- The skin on the right or left side of the breast should be reasonably normal. If you are in doubt as to whether there is enough normal skin for testing, ask your local veterinarian to examine your pet within a week of your Cornell appointment.
- If your pet has been seen by the Cornell Dermatology Service, bathing with an antiseptic shampoo is permitted until the date of testing.
- If your pet has not been seen by Cornell Dermatology Service, please do not bathe your pet 7 days prior to your scheduled appointment.
- Oral antibiotics or antifungals may be given up to the night before the test.
- Certain medications must be taken from your pet in order to obtain an accurate allergy test. Withdraw the following medications according to the schedule below. If in doubt, contact your veterinarian and/or us:
|Steroids: (prednisone, cortisone)||[ ] No oral medication for 3 weeks prior to testing|
[ ] No topical steroids for 3 weeks, such as ear medications, eye medications, sprays, shampoos, etc.
[ ] No steroid injections for 6 weeks
|No steroids:||[ ] Without Zubrin®, antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, pentoxifylline for 2 weeks|
|Cyclosporine:||[ ] Sin Atopica®, Neoral® or generics for 4 weeks|
|fatty acids:||[ ] No fatty acid supplementation for 14 days|
allergic skin diseases
Allergies are common in dogs and cats. Fleas and other insects are the most common allergens, but allergies to environmental materials, including pollen, dust mites and mold spores, or food, are also common. The ease and success of treatment depend on the triggering cause. Flea or food allergies are relatively easy to treat, while "pollen" allergies are more problematic and often require allergy testing.
Staphylococcus bacteria is the most common cause of skin infections that we see. The bacteria can be easily transmitted from animal to animal and rarely from animal to human and is found in all breeds of animals.
The most typical symptoms are a tender or itchy rash. The infection is diagnosed by skin and microbiological tests and is treated with topical and/or oral antibiotics. Some strains are resistant to antibiotics and require stronger drugs to treat.
Bacterial or yeast ear infections are common in dogs, but can also occur in cats. Infections are caused by a trigger, for example excessive moisture from swimming, ear mites or allergies, which must be treated along with the infection. Some organisms, such as Pseudomonas or methicillin-resistant staphylococci, are particularly difficult to control and may require months of continuous treatment.
Thrush is not as common in central New York as it is in other parts of the United States. The most common fungal disease observed by the dermatology group is the overgrowth of the Malassezia yeast, which is part of the normal flora of an animal's skin. In these cases, the yeast must be treated aggressively, but the underlying triggering event must also be addressed, for example, allergies, oily skin conditions, or excessive swimming. The most common external source of fungal diseases is ringworm, but occasionally we see animals with more serious internal fungal diseases that have spread to the skin.
Immune mediated disorders
Immune-mediated diseases are quite common in pets. In some diseases, the animal's immune system fights off a foreign substance, such as a fungal organism, and the skin is inadvertently attacked. Medications are the most common triggers for this type of reaction. In other cases, the animal's skin is not recognized as belonging to the animal and the immune system tries to fight it off. These are autoimmune diseases and require lifelong treatment.
American College of Veterinary Dermatology
The official professional organization established to promote and promote excellence in veterinary dermatology, oversee graduate education in veterinary dermatology, sponsor research, and organize scientific and educational programs for veterinary dermatologists and general practitioners.
make an appointment
Hours: Monday and Wednesday from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Meet our experts
Ithaca, New York
New York State law requires a valid rabies certificate to be presented upon arrival.
Please bring all relevant medical documentation with you or your vet can submit this information quickly and easily through our veterinary referral portal.CUHA rVet Connect.
Payment is required at the time of execution. (View financial information.)