DR. Jennifer Bentley |  DVM, DACVD

Dermatology & Allergy

The importance of dermatology and allergy are areas of pet health that are often overlooked. Many conditions that go on for years can be treated quickly with the advanced knowledge of a specialist.  We diagnose and treat many of the conditions that affect your pet’s skin, ears, nails, and anal glands. From the initial exam to your pet’s tailored treatment plan, we will work with you to find comfort and relief for your pet.

Bend pet dermatologist
Bend pet dermatologist
DR. Jennifer Bentley |  DVM, DACVD

Dermatology & Allergy

The importance of dermatology and allergy are areas of pet health that are often overlooked. Many conditions that go on for years can be treated quickly with the advanced knowledge of a specialist.  We diagnose and treat many of the conditions that affect your pet’s skin, ears, nails, and anal glands. From the initial exam to your pet’s tailored treatment plan, we will work with you to find comfort and relief for your pet.

Common Issues We Address

Allergy Overview

There are four types of allergies in the dog and cat:

1.       Food allergy

2.       Insect Allergy

3.       Environmental Allergy (pollens, dust, etc…)

4.       Contact allergy

These different types of allergies can manifest in skin rashes and itch (scratching, biting, chewing, licking).  Determining which allergy your pet has, can be difficult since the above allergies look very similar.  Our dermatologist relies heavily on your pet’s history and physical examination to determine the most likely cause.  For many patients a tailored process of elimination will be necessary to make the diagnosis and provide the best treatment.  Our ultimate goal is to identify the allergen and discontinue anti-itch medications such as prednisone, Apoquel, and Cytopoint which have long term side effects.

For more information about environmental allergy testing please click here.

CO2 Laser Therapy

We are able to remove small masses and treat certain dermatological conditions with our C02 laser. This method of treatment has several advantages over conventional surgery.

• Most procedures can be done by numbing the skin prior to the procedure.  Often sedation and general anesthesia can be avoided.

• Less pain – the CO2 laser seals the nerve endings and little to no pain is experienced.

• Minimal hemorrhage (bleeding) and tissue destruction.  The laser is a precise tool giving the dermatologist excellent control on how much tissue will be removed.  This also limits post-operative swelling and inflammation.

• If a patient has multiple masses/tumors, conventional surgery may be too time consuming to be performed.

1. Removal of small masses: examples include sebaceous adenomas (warts), skin tags and papilloma’s.

2. Removal of cysts.

3. Removal of hemangiomas – small red areas caused by UV light. These tumor types can turn malignant.

4. Removal of tumors in difficult locations such as on the ears and tail.

Endocrine (Hormonal) Disorders

Common endocrinopathies in the dog include hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism).  These two conditions can cause loss of hair, brittle hair, changes in hair color, and skin infections.  Seasonal flank alopecia is another disease that also may involve hormones.

Cats, also can have skin and hair coat changes due to endocrine disorders.  Cats may have similar changes to the hair and coat as dogs from hyperthyroidism and thymomas.

Blood tests may be utilized to diagnose these disorders.  In certain cases a skin biopsy may be needed.

Immune Mediated Conditions

These conditions are characterized by dysregulation of the immune system that causes the body to attack itself.  In some cases a trigger (infection, virus, drug) may cause the dysregulation – your dermatologist will carefully look over your pet’s history to identify this trigger.

For most of these conditions a skin biopsy with submission to a dermatohistopathologist is necessary for diagnosis.  Most pets with these conditions can live long and healthy lives, but most will require life-long medical management.

Common immune mediated conditions are listed below:

  • Pemphigus Foliaceous
  • Discoid Lupus Erythematosus
  • Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy
  • Hepatocutaneous Syndrome
  • Erythema Multiforme
  • Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis

Skin Cancer

Cutaneous lymphoma (mycosis fungoides) causes generalized red, irritated, and itchy skin in older dogs.  Often times this form of skin cancer is confused with allergies.  Performing skin cytology combined with your pet’s history and examination can raise our suspicion of skin cancer.  Definitive diagnosis requires a skin biopsy.

Cutaneous lymphoma has different prognosis’s and treatment options depending on the type of cutaneous lymphoma that is diagnosed.  A localized form may be cured with surgery; whereas, pets with a more generalized form can benefit from chemotherapy.  For every case our main goal is providing your pet with the best quality of life.

Skin Infections

Most skin infections, especially those caused by bacteria and yeast, are secondary to another disease process. The most common underlying cause of bacteria and yeast infections in dogs and cats are allergies. Endocrinopathies (disease of an endocrine gland) can also cause skin infections. Clinical signs of skin infections include scaling (flaky skin), hair loss, and itch (scratching, biting, chewing). It is very important to treat the infections, as well as the underlying cause, so that the infection does not re-occur. In some cases, an infection may be primary, meaning there is no underlying cause.

Primary infections

Dermatophytosis (ringworm)
Mycobacterium
Systemic fungal diseases (cryptococcus)
Parasitic diseases
Demodicosis
Sarcoptes
Hookworm
Cheyletiella

Diagnosis of most of these diseases is usually straight forward. The dermatologist may use a combination of skin cytology, skin scrapes, and fungal cultures. For deeper infections, such as mycobacterium, a skin biopsy may be necessary to perform histopathology and culture.

Common Issues We Address

Allergy Overview

There are four types of allergies in the dog and cat:

1.       Food allergy

2.       Insect Allergy

3.       Environmental Allergy (pollens, dust, etc…)

4.       Contact allergy

These different types of allergies can manifest in skin rashes and itch (scratching, biting, chewing, licking).  Determining which allergy your pet has, can be difficult since the above allergies look very similar.  Our dermatologist relies heavily on your pet’s history and physical examination to determine the most likely cause.  For many patients a tailored process of elimination will be necessary to make the diagnosis and provide the best treatment.  Our ultimate goal is to identify the allergen and discontinue anti-itch medications such as prednisone, Apoquel, and Cytopoint which have long term side effects.

For more information about environmental allergy testing please click here.

CO2 Laser Therapy

We are able to remove small masses and treat certain dermatological conditions with our C02 laser. This method of treatment has several advantages over conventional surgery.

• Most procedures can be done by numbing the skin prior to the procedure.  Often sedation and general anesthesia can be avoided.

• Less pain – the CO2 laser seals the nerve endings and little to no pain is experienced.

• Minimal hemorrhage (bleeding) and tissue destruction.  The laser is a precise tool giving the dermatologist excellent control on how much tissue will be removed.  This also limits post-operative swelling and inflammation.

• If a patient has multiple masses/tumors, conventional surgery may be too time consuming to be performed.

1. Removal of small masses: examples include sebaceous adenomas (warts), skin tags and papilloma’s.

2. Removal of cysts.

3. Removal of hemangiomas – small red areas caused by UV light. These tumor types can turn malignant.

4. Removal of tumors in difficult locations such as on the ears and tail.

Endocrine (Hormonal) Disorders

Common endocrinopathies in the dog include hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism).  These two conditions can cause loss of hair, brittle hair, changes in hair color, and skin infections.  Seasonal flank alopecia is another disease that also may involve hormones.

Cats, also can have skin and hair coat changes due to endocrine disorders.  Cats may have similar changes to the hair and coat as dogs from hyperthyroidism and thymomas.

Blood tests may be utilized to diagnose these disorders.  In certain cases a skin biopsy may be needed.

Immune Mediated Conditions

These conditions are characterized by dysregulation of the immune system that causes the body to attack itself.  In some cases a trigger (infection, virus, drug) may cause the dysregulation – your dermatologist will carefully look over your pet’s history to identify this trigger.

For most of these conditions a skin biopsy with submission to a dermatohistopathologist is necessary for diagnosis.  Most pets with these conditions can live long and healthy lives, but most will require life-long medical management.

Common immune mediated conditions are listed below:

  • Pemphigus Foliaceous
  • Discoid Lupus Erythematosus
  • Symmetrical Lupoid Onychodystrophy
  • Hepatocutaneous Syndrome
  • Erythema Multiforme
  • Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis

Skin Cancer

Cutaneous lymphoma (mycosis fungoides) causes generalized red, irritated, and itchy skin in older dogs.  Often times this form of skin cancer is confused with allergies.  Performing skin cytology combined with your pet’s history and examination can raise our suspicion of skin cancer.  Definitive diagnosis requires a skin biopsy.

Cutaneous lymphoma has different prognosis’s and treatment options depending on the type of cutaneous lymphoma that is diagnosed.  A localized form may be cured with surgery; whereas, pets with a more generalized form can benefit from chemotherapy.  For every case our main goal is providing your pet with the best quality of life.

Skin Infections

Most skin infections, especially those caused by bacteria and yeast, are secondary to another disease process. The most common underlying cause of bacteria and yeast infections in dogs and cats are allergies. Endocrinopathies (disease of an endocrine gland) can also cause skin infections. Clinical signs of skin infections include scaling (flaky skin), hair loss, and itch (scratching, biting, chewing). It is very important to treat the infections, as well as the underlying cause, so that the infection does not re-occur. In some cases, an infection may be primary, meaning there is no underlying cause.

Primary infections

Dermatophytosis (ringworm)
Mycobacterium
Systemic fungal diseases (cryptococcus)
Parasitic diseases
Demodicosis
Sarcoptes
Hookworm
Cheyletiella

Diagnosis of most of these diseases is usually straight forward. The dermatologist may use a combination of skin cytology, skin scrapes, and fungal cultures. For deeper infections, such as mycobacterium, a skin biopsy may be necessary to perform histopathology and culture.

What to expect

1. Before

Do not bathe your pet 3 days before your appointment and do not clean the ears for at least 1 day before your appointment. Please fully complete your pet’s history form before the appointment. This form will be emailed to you.

2. During

There is usually a lot of information to go over on your first appointment.  Expect your initial consultation to take 2-3 hours.  

3. After

Most dermatological problems take several months to resolve and monthly recheck appointments may be recommended for your pet.