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Skin and ear problems, unfortunately, are common experiences for dogs and cats. While these conditions’ clinical signsoften seem similar, causes vary. That’s why one visit doesn’t always identify or solve the problem, a situation that can frustrate owners. Help is possible, however. Our dermatologist, Jacqueline Watson, identifies subtle differences that contribute to a diagnosis. She then treats the source of skin and ear problems and develops a long-term plan to keep pets and their owners happy. At SCVSEC our Dermatology Service provides various ways to take the scratch out of your pets’ life.

Intradermal Allergy Testing

Like people, pets suffer environmental allergies (atopy)due to pollens, molds, insects, house dust, and other allergens. Allergic reactions can occur during certain seasons or year-round, depending on which allergenscause the pets problems. Although environmental allergies typically cannot be cured, they can be controlled. One of the safest, long-term options for controlling environmental allergies is allergy serum or immunotherapy. We develop this targeted therapy for individual patients based on an intradermal (skin) allergy test, which is considered the gold standard. We offer other options for long-term allergy control as well.

Planning For Allergy Testing

If your pet is scheduled to have allergy testing with us, please observe the following prior to testing.

Stop all of the following medications:

  • Antihistamines (2 weeks before the test)
  • Fish Oil Supplements (10 days before the test)
  • Injectable Steroids (at least 8 weeks before testing)
  • Oral Steroids (at least 4 weeks days before testing)
  • Topical Steroids (2 to 3 weeks before testing depending on the topical) Note: This includes some ear medications, shampoos, and sprays.
  • Tranquilizer Medications (Acepromazine) (10 days before test)

You do not need to stop using the following products:

  • Anti-Seizure Medications
  • Antimicrobials
  • Heartworm and Flea Preventatives
  • Non-Steroid-Containing Ear Products
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Medications
  • Non-Steroid-Containing Shampoos, or Other Topical Products
  • Thyroid Supplementation.

Have a question about a medication? Call us.

Note: It’s best that skin tests occur at least four weeks apart from routine vaccinations.

Video Otoscopy

We use an otoscope equipped with a tiny video camera to look into pets’ ears, under anesthesia. This method provides a much better way to see and examine the external and middle ear. As well, it’s good for deep cleaning and collecting samples from the external ear canal and middle ear. It helps to identify tumors of the external ear canal and middle ear, as well as deep ear infections.

CT Scan

A CT scan be performed prior to video otoscopy to identify abnormalities in the external ear canal and middle ear.

Skin Biopsy

This procedure helps identify uncommon diseases such as autoimmune skin disease and skin cancer.

We Diagnose And Treat

  • Allergic Disorders
  • Ear infections
  • Hair Growth Disorders and Character
  • Hormonal Disorders
  • Immune-Mediated Skin Disorders
  • Skin and Subcutaneous Infections
  • Skin Parasites

Contact Us

South Carolina Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Care


3924 Fernandina Road Columbia, SC 29210

Hospital Hours

Emergency: 24 hours
Specialty Departments: Monday-Friday: 8 am - 6 pm
Urgent Care: 1:00 PM - 11:00 PM, 7 days a week (conveniently located in the same building as our ER)