Dermatology

Specialist vet dermatologists for dogs and cats

One of the most common reasons dogs and cats need veterinary attention is for skin and/or ear problems. Our dermatology specialists, Dr Linda Vogelnest and Dr Philippa Ravens assess all types of skin, ear and nail problems using their expert knowledge along with up-to-date testing to determine a diagnosis, which ultimately guides the best treatment options.

If a skin or ear problem is proving difficult to manage, keeps recurring, or there are ‘non-specific’ changes and no clear diagnosis, referral to dermatology can provide the most efficient way forward. We know how frustrating it can be for pets and their owners to cope with chronic or recurrent itchy dermatitis, and there is increasing knowledge, and many options now available to improve everyone’s quality of life.

A full range of dermatology problems can be evaluated at SASH, including:

  • Allergies
  • Ear infections
  • Non-specific itch, or chronic recurrent dermatitis
  • Hair-coat disorders
  • Nail diseases
  • Footpad diseases
  • Unusual or ‘non-specific’ skin lesions


Skin diagnostics available at SASH include:

  • Intradermal or (serum) allergen testing to evaluate airborne allergens including pollens, moulds and dust mites: essential to allow immunotherapy (desensitising) treatment
  • Skin cytology to check accurately for secondary bacterial and/or yeast infections, and can help with other infections and some immune-diseases: essential for accurate individual patient treatment
  • Skin biopsies may be important to confirm a diagnosis for more unusual diseases or tricky presentations: generally, not required for allergies or common skin problems
  • Ear flushing with video-otoscopy to enable thorough examination, cleaning, and sampling as needed for chronic ear infections: essential to clear some chronic ear infections, and provides fastest resolution for problem earsWe perform many diagnostics on the same day as the initial consultation, although we often require some initial treatment in preparation for ear flushing.

Our dermatology nurses (Karolien and Laura at Sydney, Fay McDarmont at Central Coast) are an essential part of the dermatology team, helping ensure all patients have gentle handling, lots of attention, and individual care during their dermatology consultations and procedures. The nurses also manage the allergen immunotherapy (allergy ‘vaccine’) service, which requires great care and attention to detail to formulate accurately.

Dr Linda Vogelnest has worked in dermatology referral practice as a registered specialist in Veterinary Dermatology in Sydney for over 15 years and consults at SASH Sydney on Wednesdays and Fridays, and at a satellite service at Gregory Hills every second week (mostly Thursdays). She is also available for phone calls, facilitating the allergy vaccine service, histopathology, and case discussion at Sydney on Tuesdays (non-consult day).

Dr Philippa Ravens has a Master’s degree in Small Animal Medicine, Membership by examination in canine and feline medicine and Fellowship by examination in veterinary dermatology with the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists and is a registered specialist in Veterinary Dermatology. Dr Ravens is available for consults at Sydney on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and Central Coast on Wednesdays.

Dermatology Biopsy Service

Skin biopsies can be processed and reported by our SASH Specialist Dermatologists – Drs Vogelnest and Ravens.

Biopsies are sent directly to the laboratory for processing, and slides are forwarded to SASH for reporting.

Reports contain practical diagnostic and treatment advice for each patient. Current charges are on the forms. Biopsies can be submitted via your usual couriers to either Vetnostics or IDEXX with the correct form as below.

VETNOSTICS – send biopsies with Vetnostics/SASH Skin Biopsy submission form via your Vetnostics courier, or for some regional areas without service, via express post to Vetnostics (details on the submission form; results take 3-4 days)

· IDEXX – send samples with IDEXX SKIN BIOPSY submission form through the usual IDEXX courier (results take 7-10 days)

A Second Opinion for skin biopsies already processed can also be requested. Complete the Second Opinion submission form, scan and email with images if available to SASH (see form for details).

Request your lab send H&E recuts of the biopsy slides to Drs Vogelnest and Ravens (address and details on the form).

General veterinarians can send skin biopsies to SASH for reporting by Drs Vogelnest and Ravens. Skin histopathology is part of a Veterinary Dermatologist’s training. Reports contain practical diagnostic and treatment advice for each patient.

Dog Undergoing Veterinary Anaesthesia

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