Millie Rosales, DVM, DACVD


The most common services provided by Miami Veterinary Dermatology involve the diagnosis and management of allergies and recurrent ear infections. However, a variety of other diagnostic services are also performed.

Diagnosis and Management of Allergic Skin Disorders

Allergies are a common cause of skin and ear problems in dogs and cats, and often the main reason a pet visits a veterinarian dermatologist. Allergies can make a pet very itchy and uncomfortable. Typically a pet will scratch when it feels itchy; however, other signs of itchiness are chewing, licking (especially of the paws), rubbing, scooting and over-grooming (as seen in cats). Allergies can also cause recurrent skin infections and recurrent ear infections.

The three main allergies that affect dogs and cats are flea allergy, food allergy or environment (atopy) allergies. Dr. Rosales will spend the time to investigate which allergy/allergies might be causing your pet discomfort. Testing of this nature can require several visits.

For those pets suffering from environmental allergies, Dr. Rosales offers intradermal allergy skin testing. This test is very similar to the skin prick test a human allergist may perform on a person. Intradermal allergy testing is considered the gold standard for assessing what environmental allergens may be making your pet itchy. Once the specific allergens are identified, an allergen-specific vaccine or allergen immunotherapy is formulated to try to “desensitize” your pet of its allergies. This treatment is specific for each patient. Allergy immunotherapy is a very effective, non-steroidal way to manage chronic allergies in the dog and cat.

Diagnosis and Management of Recurrent Ear Infections

Recurrent ear infections occur commonly in dogs, but are uncommon in cats. Ear infections can cause significant pain and discomfort to a pet. Ear infections should be addressed promptly before chronic changes in the ear canal develop, so as to avoid surgical intervention in the future. As part of the medical management for recurrent ear infections, Dr. Rosales may use video-otoscopy on your pet. Video-otoscopy is an apparatus that appears like an elongated camera with a powerful light source that is placed inside your pet’s ear to allow for better visualization of the deeper parts of your pet’s ear/ear canals and ear drum. This better visualization assists and may be necessary in the treatment of the ear infection, especially when the infection has extended into the middle ear.

Diagnosis and Management / Treatment of Other Conditions

In addition to allergic conditions and recurrent ear infections, Miami Veterinary Dermatology also diagnoses and manages other skin disorders, including:

  • Infections affecting the skin, paws and nails
  • Parasitic infections like mange (mites)
  • Endocrine/hormonal disorders
  • Immune mediated (autoimmune) conditions
  • Keratinization disorders
  • Congenital/hereditary disorders
  • Some neoplastic (cancer) conditions
  • Idiopathic/unknown causes

Additional Diagnostic Services

Skin Cytology
Skin Cytology is the best diagnostic test to assess infection on your pet’s skin; various methods are used, ranging from tape sampling of the skin to swabbing of the skin. The sample is then examined under a microscope. The test can be done at the time of the visit and results are available within 15-20 minutes.

Ear Cytology

This test allows us to assess if there is an infection in your pet’s ears. It involves taking a sample of your pet’s ear discharge and examining it under a microscope. Like skin cytology, the test can be done at the visit and results are available within 15-20 minutes.

Skin Scrapings

A small, dull blade is used to scrape lesion and non-lesion areas of your pet’s skin to assess if your pet's skin problem may be due to mites. This test is easy and quick, and at the time of the visit we will know if mites (mange) are causing your pet’s skin condition(s).

Skin Biopsies
Involves taking a small sample of your pet’s skin under local or general anesthesia. The skin sample is then sent to a dermatopathologist (a pathologist that specializes in skin conditions) for review. Biopsies may be necessary for various types of conditions, such as auto-immune disorders, to allow for definitive diagnosis.

Skin / Ear Cultures
Involves taking a sterile swab of your pet’s skin lesion or taking sterile biopsy samples of the skin and submitting it to a microbiology lab to assess what infection (bacterial and/or fungal) may be causing your pet’s skin problem. Ear cultures involve taking a sterile sample of the discharge on your pet’s ear and submitting it for bacterial culture.

Various Bloodwork Analyses
To assess for systemic / internal conditions or hormonal problems that may be causing your pet's skin condition.

DTM (Dermatophyte Test Medium)
This test involves taking hair samples and placing them in a special medium for culture. This test can take several weeks to obtain results and it is useful in the diagnosis of dermatophytosis (ringworm infection).