The Dermatology Service at Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania sees approximately 1400 patients each year. All cases are by referral only. The small animal and exotic patients seen present with a variety of skin diseases. The most common conditions are atopy (hypersensitivity to airborne allergens), food allergy, and flea bite hypersensitivity.
Animals with skin disease exhibit many clinical signs. Pruritus (itching) is at the top of the list with other outward signs including alopecia, erythema scaling, crusting of the skin, hyperpigmentation, ear disease, and pyoderma.
The Dermatology Service functions as a small animal specialty practice within a large university teaching hospital. We are staffed with six veterinarians who are augmented by 3 certified veterinary nurses (technicians), specializing in Dermatology.
Ryan Veterinary Hospital provides the Dermatology Service with many resources to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of the patients seen. Resources available include two video otoscopy units, which allow us to visualize the ear canals of dogs and cats. These units are utilized to perform ear flushes on patients with chronic ear disease. By thoroughly cleaning the ears this provides a healthy environment, which facilitates the healing of the ear canal. The Dermatology Service also utilizes video microscopy; this unit projects the image on a monitor and aids in teaching fourth year veterinary students and nursing students. The video microscopy allows clinicians to store images of samples collected from our patients in a computer file for future reference. We routinely perform allergen testing (both intra-dermal skin testing and blood serology), skin biopsies for histopathology, and ear flushes.
Working in the Dermatology Service at Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is fun, educational, and rewarding. It’s a place where veterinary nurses are able to make a real difference in the lives of our patients and their owners.