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Willows is one of the few referral centres in the UK to have a Dermatology Specialist as a full-time staff member. This, coupled with the excellent facilities and equipment and the multi-disciplinary approach to patient management, enables us to provide the highest standards of care for patients with skin disease. We are also happy to provide telephone advice to veterinary surgeons on the management of dermatology cases.
Skin disease in animals is very common, but there are a number of scenarios when it may be appropriate for a particular patient to see a Specialist. Patients are seen at Willows after other vets refer them to us. Following the initial consultation, and after all other appointments with us, we keep in close contact with the referring veterinary surgeon so that they are informed of the management plan at all times.
At Willows, patients are seen for a 60 minute initial appointment, which provides time to review the history of the case, and talk to owners in detail about the problem. It is also usually possible to carry out a number of diagnostic tests during this time, often enabling a diagnosis to be reached within the first consultation. In many cases, owners can see the results of these tests for themselves as the image under the microscope is sent to a computer screen in the room. For those cases requiring further tests, a clear diagnostic plan is formulated. If patients require procedures under anaesthesia, Willows has a Specialist-led anaesthesia team to ensure that these are safe and uneventful. This multi-disciplinary approach also means that Specialists in other teams such as internal medicine or soft tissue surgery can be involved in the care of dermatology patients if necessary. On very rare occasions where dermatology patients require hospitalisation, Willows provides unrivalled care with nurses and other clinical support staff present 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. This level of care and support enables us to optimise patient management at all times.
Ear disease is a very common problem in dogs and cats, and as the ears are lined with skin, dermatologists are frequently responsible for treating patients with this problem. Willows has a state-of-the-art hospital with advanced imaging equipment such as CT and MRI scanners. Specialists in diagnostic imaging are on hand to interpret the images and these scanners allow full investigation of cases with chronic ear disease and can help to determine why ear infections are either not resolving or keep returning. Along with this, the advanced camera equipment at Willows allows the ear canals to be examined in detail and enables us to perform delicate diagnostic procedures where necessary.
Many referred dermatology patients suffer from allergies, and develop chronic skin disease as a result. Willows is able to investigate these cases fully with the use of intradermal allergy testing (like skin prick testing in people), and this can provide some animals with a management option that avoids long term medications. For those patients where this testing is not an option or not appropriate, we will always take the time to discuss all the other management options for allergy clearly, and in detail.
In many cases, dermatology patients benefit from periodic re-examinations and we will always be more than happy to continue these appointments with us. Where this is not feasible, we aim to help the referring veterinary surgeon wherever we can. We endeavour to ensure that owners find us approachable, understanding and sympathetic at all times, and often encourage telephone updates for progress for as long as required.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.