Normally a dermatology consult has several set aspects to it.
- Taking a history. This can be the most important part to the consultation, particularly in long standing cases. History taking can account for as much as 1/3 of the time taken in an hour long second opinion or referral dermatology consult.
- Examination of the animal. This includes a general examination of all body systems as well as looking as the skin and any specific skin lesions. After these two stages have been dealt with, a list of differential diagnoses can be made.
- Diagnostic tests. This includes skin cytology, skin scrapings, ear swab cytology , blood tests, cultures and skin biopsies
- Treatment plan. This can include treatment for specific diseases if a definitive diagnosis has already been made or supportive treatment pending more specific diagnostic tests being done such as food allergy trials, allergy tests or skin biopsy. With ear disease, treatment often involves deep ear cleaning using the video otoscope under general anaesthesia.
For those owners who have to self isolate or are in the high risk group during this pandermic or, for whatever reason, are unable to attend the clinic, I am offering video consultations. During a video consultation I can still go through stage one of the consultation process and although I can’t carry out all of stage 2, the very visual nature of dermatology lends itself to this type of consultation and a veterinary dermatologist, by virtue of his/her specialist knowledge can come up with a list of differential diagnoses and can offer the best chance of advising on the correct treatment. For instance, looking at the history and then pattern analysis of the skin condition, most cases of allergy in dogs can be narrowed down to either food allergy or atopy and supportive treatment prescribed.
The RCVS has temporarily relaxed the rules on issuing prescriptions, now allowing them to be issued without a direct examination. It is therefore important that a treatment is prescribed based on the best bet of what the condition being treated is…this is why it is best to get the advice of a veterinary dermatologist when dealing with skin/ear problems.
After a video consultation, there are further steps I can take with diagnosis without seeing the animal. For instance, in cases of otitis, you can send me a swab from the ear canal,and I can check cytology to be sure what pathogens are inside the ear. Similarly, tape strips from the skin, using scotch tape, can be sent so I can look at surface skin cytology which can help diagnose yeast infections. Here’s a short video showing you how to take samples for cytology which can help greatly in deciding the best therapy for your pet’s skin or ear problem.
After a video consultation, I can either issue you with a prescription or if you are willing to travel to the clinic in Leicester I can dispense the medication for you.
If your animal is suffering greatly, for instance with a very painful otitis and needs anaesthesia and deep cleaning, I am now able to resume that side of my service as I have the required PPE. However I will have to be strict with social distancing rules and ideally your pet should be left at the door for my nurse to admit. If an owner has to enter the building I am only allowing one person at a time and they should use the hand sanitiser provided and wear a face mask.
The cost of a first video consult, lasting up to half an hour is £45 If a prescription is then issued it is £12.60. This fee is not applicable if you collect medication from my clinic. Follow -up video consults, lasting up to 15 minutes will cost £32.50 and very quick 10 minute follow-ups will cost £20.00 These fees are considerably cheaper than my usual face to face consult fee as it reflects the limitations of video consuts where a thorough full clinical examination is not possible.
To arrange a video consultation with me the first thing to do is to fill in the video consult form in this page. I will then have to request any history from your primary vet and you can download a Dermatology History Form to complete and email back to me ( if you have a scanner). Then you will have to register yourself and your pet with the VetHelp Direct video consult platform. I can then arrange a video consult slot with you and you will be sent a link. Here are instructions on how to set up account for video consultations
To request a video consultation, please complete the form below:-