We have a special interest in dermatology. Does your pet have skin and ear problems? We can help. Dr Rob Hill has been a regular attendee at Murdoch University over the last fifteen years for training with specialist Dr Mandy Burrows. We have extensive knowledge about how to help pets with skin problems. If you have a pet with a skin problem that is driving you crazy, please give us a try. We love giving you answers and ending the frustration you may have with your pet's skin problems.


Food Allergy

Food allergy and canine atopic dermatitis can look very similar in appearance. Sometimes food allergy manifests as ear disease. If your dog has no other skin problems but is always having ear problems, it may be a sign of food allergy. The old saying was "ears and rears" meaning dogs with food allergy have ear problems and an itchy bottom causing scooting. This can certainly be the case but may be more complex than this. Food allergy certainly warrants investigation if your dog has only ear problems and also scoots. Most dogs with canine atopy will have extensive erythema and pruritis in the non haired regions (see below under atopic dermatitis. Food allergy patients may also have gastrointestinal symptoms such as occasional or chronic vomiting and occasional or chronic diarrhoea. Sometimes the symptoms are very vague. There may be some mucous or "jelly" in the stools from an irritable bowel or colitis. Sometimes it is just a "skin" coating on the stool. Your dog may rub it's face immediately after eating because the lips are itchy. In cats it can cause chronic vomting and or chronic diarrhoea. Cats often mutilate their head due to severe pruritis.

Symptoms of food allergy in the dog in the video above


Atopic Dermatitis

The most frustrating and annoying medical condition in dogs. Canine atopy is caused by environmental allergens such as tree pollens, weed pollens and grass pollens, dust mites and moulds....the things that cause asthma in people. Atopic dogs will be itchy in areas where they don't have hair such as the feet, groin, abdomen, axilla, perineum, and the concave surface of the ears and in some breeds the lips, face and periocular regions. The allergens move trans dermally after contact, are inhaled and even ingested by licking the itchy feet and skin. The immunology is therefore very complex because the allergens trigger different types of antibody response in the skin and mucosal membranes of the respiratory system and gastrointestinal system. There is an IgE and an IgM response. To cure canine atopy is very difficult and the only current cure is desensitisation. The complex immunology means that both blood tests and skin tests need to be done before desensitisation through immunotherapy is started. Ask us for the right advice at Treendale Pet Medical.

atopy dog allergy foot

Red itchy feet are a feature of atopic dermatitis in the dog

itchy feet dog atopic dermatitis

This type of erythema and pruritis is also present in the groin, ventral abdomen and axilla.

What can you do to diagnose atopic dermatitis in the dog?

Atopic Dermatitis can be simply diagnosed using a blood test (see below)
A score greater than 10 indicates an allergic response to that allergen.
blood test dog allergy

What can you do to treat or cure atopic dermatitis (atopy) in the dog?
You can have your pet desensitised.
Skin prick testing in the dog is recommended to help choose the allergens to be desnsitised to.

skin prick test dog allergy

Hot Spots On Dogs

Canine hot spots or moist pyoderma are a very severe infection of the skin from scratching. To treat these properly, you must see your veterinarian. Watch the video below to see what you can do if your veterinarian is closed or what you can do to stop your dog scratching the hotspot and making it worse.

hot spot dog allergy

The sticky sore is a hot spot (above). The red itchy skin can be seen after clipping and cleaning under sedation below

treat hot spots dog allergy


Dry Skin On Dogs

Dry flakey skin can be caused from overwashing. It can also be caused by using the wrong shampoo. Please don't use human shampoo on your dog. The PH of dog skin is quite different to human skin. Dry skin on dogs can also be caused by atopic dermatitis due to a defective skin barrier.



Malassezia is a yeast that commonly becomes prolific on dogs with allergies due to disrupted skin barrier and moisture from inflammation and licking. It is often seen as brown waxy material in ears and around nail beds and in the interdigital spaces of the feet of dogs. It often causes dark pigmented skin on white dogs. Malassezia is intensely itchy and should be suspected if your dog is not responding to anti pruritic medication. Your veterinarian should test your dog's skin for the presence of Malassezia before prescribing medication. Come and see us at Treendale Pet Medical for help with your dog's itchy skin.

Malassezia dog ear
Malassezia seen above. Many of them are budding. They grow rapidly in warm moist dog ears where allergies cause inflammation and cerumen production.

Ringworm In Cats and Dogs

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ringworm in cats

Some ringworm lesions fluoresce under a Wood's lamp. The kitten above shows the characteristic glow of dermatophyte lesions known as ringworm. The kitten is being inspected in a dark room with a Wood's lamp.

Canine Solar Dermatitis or Actinic Dermatitis

Another common problem we see in white dogs in Australia is actinic dermatitis where solar radiation damages the skin. Scarring of the skin leads to blockage of hair follicles and can lead to furunculosis. These are often pre malignant changes for skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma.

canine solar dermatitis actinic keratitis dog Bunbury

Actinic dermatitis also know as canine solar dermatitis above and below. When this is present with canine atopic dermatitis it is very challenging to cure. Talk to Dr Rob Hill at Treendale Pet Medical about how you can help your dog with this frustrating condition.

actinic dermatitis dog Treendale Vet Bunbury


Skin Cancer

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